Review into Queensland Biosecurity Capability

Why does Queensland need a strong biosecurity system?

Biosecurity is the protection of the economy, the environment and the community from the risks associated with the entry, establishment and spread of animal and plant pests and diseases, weeds, pest animals, marine pests and contaminants.

Queensland’s agricultural industries are significant contributors to the State’s economy. The total value of Queensland’s primary industry commodities is forecast to be $15.02 billion this year and $11.89 billion at the farm gate. Continued access to key domestic and export markets for our industries is vital for economic sustainability and vibrant regions. Countless biosecurity risks (from foot-and-mouth disease and Panama tropical race 4 to red witchweed and wild dogs) affect Queensland industries and the jobs they create.

Significant biosecurity incidents also have impacts on our environment and way of life. They can impact endangered species, reduce suitable habitat, compromise the integrity of local and iconic ecosystems, and affect the amenity of public spaces (such as parks and gardens). 

A strong biosecurity system is critical to the ongoing profitability and sustainability of Queensland industries and rural communities, and safeguarding Queensland’s natural assets, our health and way of life.  

Challenges facing the biosecurity system

The biosecurity landscape is challenging and increasingly complex. Queensland is facing more biosecurity threats and incidents happen more often. Global travel, trade in animal and plant products, and diversity of land use – all of which increase biosecurity risk – continue to increase. Moreover, our environmental diversity, geographical location and climatic conditions favour the establishment of many exotic pests and diseases, so we can expect more complex biosecurity challenges than any other state in Australia.

Biosecurity in Queensland is also dependent on clear and effective working relationships between everyone who has a stake in protecting the economy, environment and community; from Commonwealth, State and local governments, to industry groups, natural resource management groups, individual landholders and the broader community. To ensure Queensland’s biosecurity system remains strong, it is critical to understand and encourage the appropriate level of responsibility and obligation for each player in the biosecurity system. This is a key focus for the Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review.

Background to the review

On 27 March 2015, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, announced a review into Queensland’s Biosecurity Capability. The review is led by an independent panel chaired by Ms Renata Brooks. The other members of the panel include Dr Ron Glanville and Professor Tom Kompas. Details about the panel members and the terms of reference for the view can be found at daf.qld.gov.au.

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