Queenslanders to have more responsibility to protect against biosecurity threats

Queensland will have new biosecurity legislation by 2016 that will see all Queenslanders playing an active role in protecting the state against biosecurity threats.

The Biosecurity Act 2014 was passed by the state’s parliament in March and is expected to come into effect in early 2016. Under the new Act, individuals and organisations will be obliged to report and have a greater legal responsibility for managing biosecurity threats under their control. Mango producers will be expected to know the biosecurity risks associated with their operation, take reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise risks and ensure pest, disease or contaminants are not spread.

The Act deals with pests, diseases and contaminants that have an impact on human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment. The laws have a comprehensive, risk based approach to managing biosecurity issues, giving the Queensland government more power to deal with threats.

Under the new Act, immediate action can be taken to manage and minimise the impacts of serious biosecurity risks prior to scientific confirmation, improving preparedness and response capabilities. The new Act will not provide specific provisions for all biosecurity situations. This will give more flexibility to individuals, industry bodies and the government to innovate and allow for more responsive and tailored approaches to manage each specific biosecurity threat that may arise.

The government is continuing to consider feedback from public consultation on the Regulatory Impact Statement, including a risk assessment and management options, to examine the impact of the legislation on individual industries.

Information on common pests and diseases with reasonable and practical measures to minimise biosecurity risks will be made available through Queensland Biosecurity.

For more information call the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au .