New cattle tick management framework in Queensland

The Biosecurity Act 2014 (the Act) commenced on 1 July 2016. The following information provides details of the changes to biosecurity legislation under the new Act.

A new risk-based cattle tick management framework commenced in Queensland on 1 July 2016. The new framework provides greater flexibility for producers moving stock across the tick line and opportunities for reduced travel times and costs for industry.

Under the framework, part of Queensland is declared as a tick free zone and the remainder as a tick infested zone. All producers continue to have an obligation to report the presence of cattle tick and tick fever in the free zone. Owners of tick infested properties in the free zone have an obligation to ensure their stock are tick free before they are moved from  the property and undertake a program to eradicate ticks from their property.

To ensure that the tick free zone remains tick free, movement requirements apply on high risk activities, such as moving livestock from the infested zone to a place in the tick free zone. The new framework provides more flexibility for carrying out low risk activities such as moving horses across the tick line or livestock to feedlots and abattoirs.

Owners of tick infested properties have an obligation to take all reasonable actions to prevent cattle tick spreading from their property whether the property is in the cattle tick free zone or in the cattle tick infested zone. Property owners must practice good biosecurity regardless of their location and tick status.

Crossing the tick line

Movement requirements for livestock crossing the tick line under the new framework provide a balance between protecting the free zone from the introduction of cattle tick and allowing reduced restrictions for the movement of stock that pose a low risk of spreading ticks.

High risk livestock (cattle, buffalo and deer)

High risk livestock are those species that are suitable hosts for cattle ticks and pose a significant risk to spreading viable cattle tick. High risk livestock include:

  • cattle  
  • buffalo  
  • deer.  

A biosecurity certificate issued by an accredited certifier must be obtained before high risk livestock are moved from the infested zone to a place in the free zone. The accredited certifier will only issue a certificate when the livestock being moved have met the risk minimisation requirement outlined in the Queensland biosecurity manual. Livestock being moved to a property in the free zone will generally be inspected and treated with a chemical to ensure they are tick free.

Livestock moving to an abattoir or feedlot in the free zone pose a lower risk of spreading cattle ticks. Different movement requirements apply.

Low risk livestock (horses, camels, goats, sheep and alpacas)

Low risk livestock are those species that can be hosts for cattle ticks but pose a low risk to spreading viable cattle tick. Low risk livestock include:

  • horses  
  • camels  
  • goats  
  • sheep  
  • alpacas.

A biosecurity certificate is not required to move low risk livestock into the free zone from the infested zone or an infested property, however the owner of the livestock must meet the risk minimisation requirements outlined in the Queensland biosecurity manual before moving. The owners of the stock must also declare on their movement record the steps they took to meet the risk minimisation requirements and the stock are tick free.

Queensland biosecurity manual

The Queensland biosecurity manual provides detailed information on activities that should be undertaken to reduce the biosecurity threats most likely to impact Queensland. Livestock producers must follow the procedures outlines in the Queensland biosecurity manual to reduce the risk of spreading cattle ticks and eradicating cattle ticks from an infested property.

Accredited certifiers

Accredited certifiers are trained persons who have been authorised by the Queensland Government to certify the status of livestock crossing the tick line. Accredited certifiers can inspect and treat livestock, and issue biosecurity certificates to allow livestock to be moved from the tick infested zone to the tick free zone. Accredited certifiers can perform inspections and issue biosecurity certificates at any location. This allows livestock to be certified at their place of origin and then moved direct to their destination.

The accredited certifier system expands on the previous third party provider system with the addition of greater oversight to ensure the system is auditable and accredited certifiers are accountable. Anyone can apply to become an accredited certifier but you must complete appropriate training and have the necessary expertise and experience to be appointed.

Accredited certifiers are granted accreditation by the Chief Executive and undergo annual audits. An accredited certifier may have their accreditation suspended, amended or cancelled if a condition of the accreditation has not been met, the certifier has committed a relevant offence or the relevant fee has not been paid.

Cattle tick infestations in the tick free zone

Owners of properties that are infested with cattle tick in the free zone have an obligation to notify of the presence or suspected presence of cattle tick or tick fever. The owners of these places will have movement requirements on stock moving from the property and be required to undertake a cattle tick eradication program.

Restricted places

Properties in the tick free zone that are infested with cattle tick will be declared as a restricted place. Properties designated as restricted places will be subject to movement requirements.

To move high risk livestock from a restricted place to the free zone, an owner will be required to obtain a certificate from an accredited certifier stating that the risk minimisation requirements as stated in the Queensland biosecurity manual have been met. The costs associated with the service provided by accredited certifiers are the responsibility of the owner.

Removal from the restricted place register

To be removed from the restricted places register, a property owner must provide evidence to Biosecurity Queensland showing they have eradicated cattle tick from the place. This may include a detailed program outlining the actions that have been taken (e.g. chemical treatment, destocking) to eradicate cattle tick from the property. An accredited certifier must supply a report stating they have inspected livestock on the property and are confident the eradication program has been successful. The costs associated with the service provided by accredited certifiers are the responsibility of the property owner.

Additional validation may be undertaken by Biosecurity Queensland before a property is removed from the restricted place register.

Guidelines for eradicating cattle tick are available from your local biosecurity officer or by calling Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Cattle tick surveillance program

A surveillance program for cattle ticks is in place for the cattle tick free zone. Under the surveillance program, Queensland Government biosecurity officers will conduct surveillance for the presence of cattle ticks in the cattle tick free zone. The surveillance program provides an understanding of where cattle ticks may be located in the tick free zone; identify key risk areas and any non-compliance with the new cattle tick provisions. The surveillance program will monitor the effectiveness of cattle tick eradication programs on infested properties in the cattle tick free zone.

The cattle tick surveillance program will not provide property inspections for market access or proof of freedom. These services may be provided by accredited certifiers.

Further information

For further information on cattle tick management in Queensland contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Last updated 01 July 2016