Biosecurity

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Biosecurity

Registered Biosecurity Entity (RBE) and Applicable Fees

Issue:
As of 27th May 2019, producers already registered as an RBE will begin to receive emails from the State Government requesting them to log into the RBE Portal to finalise their registration process by paying the applicable fee of $136.80.

The purpose of the RBE system is to provide an alert system if a new disease outbreak occurred. RBEs apply to properties that hold animals and/or persons that manage animals. “Designated” animals include cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, deer, llamas, alpacas, poultry, bees etc. 

This process will continue through until the end of July 2019.

Solution that AgForce advocates:
AgForce and other industry stakeholders consulted with the State Government through-out the period that the Biosecurity Act 2014 was under-development (2009 – 2014).

Subsequently, AgForce took the opportunity to write a submission (available here) to the then “Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee” in January 2014, highlighting concerns and questions regarding the then Biosecurity Bill 2013; and, following the release of the LNP Government’s draft Biosecurity Regulation 2014 - Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), AgForce wrote a submission highlighting a number of matters, predominately, AgForce’s vehement opposition to any fee payable by Queensland’s primary producers to fund the ongoing maintenance of the RBE database. AgForce were unsuccessful, with the Committee recommending to the Queensland Parliament a fee structure that recognised both public and private benefit, therefore setting a fee based on a 66% subsidy of the total cost to administer the database.

The current $136.80 three (3) yearly fee per RBE is the above-mentioned subsidised rate.

AgForce has again recently advocated for a further total waiver of the RBE fee, citing:

  • Flood-affected North-west Queensland producers have had this fee waived, which should also be applicable to all those presently drought-affected; and
  • Few Queensland primary producers are aware that the RBE Fee is due to be paid because of a lack of understanding. (2.5 years ago, this was a hot topic where AgForce assisted the Government significantly to raise awareness however, many have now forgotten.)

If you experience problems and/or faults with the State Government’s RBE Portal IT system, contact the Department’s Call Centre on 13 25 23.

Links:


More funds for Protected Area Estate pest and weed management

Issue:
The current statewide budget for managing biosecurity matter across State managed land is not sufficient.  For example, the statewide budget for managing giant rats tail grass on unallocated state land is only $21,000*.  Individual producers spend much more than this in one paddock.  Everyone has a duty to contain their biosecurity matter and prevent spread, otherwise neighbouring productivity and natural systems are at risk.
Any government activity to increase Queensland's protected area estate from 9 per cent to 17 per cent must also provide a realistic annual budget for weed, disease and pest management.

Solution that AgForce advocates:
Any existing and new State-funded land acquisition must also be allocated a perpetual annual budget for bushfire mitigation, invasive weeds and pest animal management and to minimise harbouring any prohibited biosecurity matter. 

* Source: current Qld Govt Parliamentary Committee weed inquiry.

Improving capability, preparedness and awareness

Issue: 
The risk of new biosecurity incursions and the state's ability to respond remain a major threat to Queensland's agriculture, communities and ecosystems.  The capacity of Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) needs rebuilding with people and systems*. The Queensland Government committed $10.8 million of the requested $30 million to Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review, however, progress has been extremely slow. Expert skills in biosecurity are acquired over time through practical experience and mentoring.

Further, since introduction of the new Biosecurity Act 2014, the rate of new biosecurity outbreaks across Queensland has diminished public confidence in Queensland's biosecurity systems.  The concept of a General Biosecurity Obligation is poorly understood across agricultural systems and within the general community.  Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility, just like public health and safety, but the message is failing to resonate with people.

Current trends in cost-sharing arrangements indicate graziers require an independent source of funds to solve livestock-related biosecurity issues. BQ responded to 43 threats over the 2015-16 period, only two of which were livestock-related, despite graziers being the state's largest agricultural producers.

*Source: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fishing

Solutions that AgForce advocates:

  • Implement the Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review recommendations, and set aside $5 million to develop and deliver the actions plans to support the Biosecurity Strategy 2017 – 2022.
  • Prioritise building expertise, networks and regional capacity to respond to biosecurity incidents. Commence departmental succession plans and cadetships for biosecurity surveillance, awareness and research expertise.
  • Raise everyone's awareness about biosecurity and their obligations to minimise weed, pest and disease spread.
  • Invest in the regional biosecurity networks for weed, disease and pest management, and raise awareness of AgVet chemical training requirements, by upskilling produce agencies, pesticide outlets, and land management staff in biosecurity surveillance and methods for controlling biosecurity matter.
  • Share, practical community mapping tools within the BIMS (Biosecurity Information Management System) to detect, map and monitor new and existing biosecurity incursions.
  • Retain strong linkages to national biosecurity preparedness, such as AustVetPan, PlantPlan and Livestock Biosecurity Network.
  • Graziers require an independent source of funds to solve broadacre livestock-related biosecurity issues - an industry-controlled fund would see our real issues addressed, regardless of prevailing government priorities.

Biosecurity

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