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Acts administered by Biosecurity Queensland

The following provides an overview of the Acts administered by Biosecurity Queensland. Full text of all legislation is available from the Parliamentary Counsel.

Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966

The Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 (ACDC Act) controls the aerial distribution of agricultural chemicals from aircraft and ground distribution of herbicides (a subset of agricultural chemicals) from ground equipment. Controls include licensing businesses and their operators carrying out the aerial or ground distribution.

This Act provides for the issue of the following licences:

  • an aerial distribution contractor licence to a business employing or engaging an agricultural pilot to distribute agricultural chemicals from aircraft
  • a pilot chemical rating licence to the agricultural pilot in command of an aircraft distributing agricultural chemicals on behalf of, or under the direction of, an aerial distribution contractor
  • a ground distribution contractor licence to a business employing or engaging a commercial operator to distribute herbicides from ground equipment, and a commercial operator's licence to a commercial operator distributing herbicides from ground equipment, on land that a person or their near relatives do not own or occupy, on behalf of, or under the direction of, a ground distribution contractor or an aerial distribution contractor.

The Act also provides for the declaration of special areas called hazardous areas, where conditions apply to the aerial or ground distribution of certain agricultural chemicals capable of causing damage to crops or where there is restricted distribution requiring special permits for the use of certain agricultural chemicals.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Regulation 1998.

Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals (Queensland) Act 1994

This Act makes certain Commonwealth laws about agricultural and veterinary chemical products law in Queensland, and operates in conjunction with the:

  • Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act 1994 (Cwth)
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 (Cwth)
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (Cwth).

It grants the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) power to carry out its functions in Queensland. It allows the controls relating to the approval and registration of agricultural and veterinary chemicals to apply in Queensland.

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 governs the treatment of all vertebrate animals (except humans) and all invertebrate species of the class Cephalopoda (cuttlefish, nautilus, octopus, squid) in Queensland.

This Act promotes responsible animal care and use, provides standards for animal care and use, protects animals from cruelty and safeguards the welfare of animals used for scientific purposes.

This is consistent with the Queensland community's expectations that animals should be treated humanely regardless of the animal type or use.

The Act is proactive and focuses on education to improve the welfare of animals. However, it does establish strong penalties for people who are cruel to animals.

Through the adoption of nationally recognised animal welfare standards and guidelines and published as codes of practice, the Act also helps Queensland's animal industries and animal user groups show that they meet community and market expectations in maintaining agreed animal welfare standards. These standards outline minimum acceptable animal welfare requirements for particular species or animal use situations, and document agreed standards of care and management.

Biosecurity Queensland, through biosecurity inspectors and veterinary officers, and the RSPCA enforce the Act. 

Note: Police officers are also able to respond to animal welfare complaints under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000. The Racing Integrity Act 2016 establishes the Racing Integrity Commission which is responsible for the management of animal welfare and integrity matters within the racing industry.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012.

Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008

This Act contains mandatory cat and dog identification and dog registration requirements and the ability to regulate dogs that pose a risk to public safety. Specific requirements for restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs (regulated dogs) are included. Local Government (councils) are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act in their areas.

The Queensland Government is responsible for:

  • issuing microchip registry licenses
  • regulating microchip implanters
  • maintaining a state-wide regulated dog register
  • providing information and advice on the Act
  • developing policy and ensuring relevancy of the Act.

Local Governments are responsible, within their areas, for:

  • ensuring cats and dogs are microchipped
  • ensuring owners update microchip information
  • ensuring de-sexed dogs and cats are tattooed
  • providing dog registration
  • regulating dangerous, menacing and restricted dogs
  • appointing authorised officers to enforce the Act.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Regulation 2009.

Biological Control Act 1987

The Biological Control Act 1987 provides for the biological control of agricultural pests to protect the environment. This Act is jointly administered by Biosecurity Queensland and the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

The Act provides for the case of biological control agents to control agricultural pests through the declaration of target organisms, and the declaration and release of agent organisms to combat them.

The Act also establishes the Queensland Biological Control Authority, and prescribes its powers and functions. The Queensland Biological Control Authority may establish a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into matters relating to target organisms or agent organisms. Fines and/or imprisonment may be imposed for offences that relate to the proceedings of the Commission of Inquiry, including false evidence or failure of witnesses to attend. An appeal may be made to the Land Court against a Queensland Biological Control Authority decision.

The Act provides a link with complementary legislation in the other states and the Northern Territory to ensure a uniform approach to biological control throughout Australia.

Biosecurity Act 2014

This new Act provides a risk-based approach to managing biosecurity risks in Queensland that allows for the most reasonable and practical response mechanisms to be implemented that are proportionate to the level of risk posed to human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment.

The Act deals with:

  • pests (such as wild dogs and weeds)
  • diseases (such as foot-and-mouth disease)
  • contaminants (such as lead on grazing land).

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Biosecurity Regulation 2016.

Brands Act 1915

The Brands Act 1915 describes the types of brands and earmarks that can legally be used on horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats in Queensland. It provides for proof of ownership of all stock marked with a registered brand or earmark. The brands system has a secondary role that facilitates trace-back and control of disease in cattle and pigs.

All cattle and pigs sold must be branded with a registered brand. A brand return form must be completed annually to ensure brand particulars are kept current in the brand registers.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Brands Regulation 2012.

Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988

This Act controls the use of certain chemicals and substances that have chemical residues in or on them. It states that chemical users must follow the labelled instruction but has some flexibility regarding application rates and target pests. In 2003, an amendment to the Act created obligations for veterinary surgeons using or prescribing veterinary chemical products on animals. The Act provides specific controls over the use of veterinary chemical products on food-producing animals.

It prohibits the use of unregistered chemical products except where:

  • the person using them has an APVMA permit
  • the chemical being used has been declared exempt by regulation.

The Act also deals with the use of chemicals from unlabelled containers, disposal of chemical packaging and recall of chemical products.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Regulation 1999.

Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Part 5B only)

'Part 5B' of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 deals with the commercial production of industrial cannabis. This part of the Act facilitates the processing and marketing of, and trade in, industrial cannabis fibre and fibre products, and industrial cannabis seed and seed products. This does not include the production of such products for a purpose directly or indirectly of producing anything for the administration to, consumption or smoking by any person.

This Act contains strict eligibility and suitability requirements on licence applicants wishing to grow or carry out research of industrial cannabis. It requires both licence holders and authorised persons to meet a range of conditions attached to their licence or authorisations when carrying out activities associated with commercial industrial cannabis production.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987.

Exhibited Animals Act 2015

The Exhibited Animals Act 2015 governs how licence holders can exhibit and deal with exhibited animals in Queensland. It authorises a risk-based approach to licence holders who exhibit native wildlife and exotic species throughout Queensland. This is achieved by ensuring a licence holder can take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise any relevant risks or relevant adverse effects associated with exhibiting and dealing with an animal. These include risks to animal welfare, biosecurity, and public safety, which would have an adverse effect on the welfare of an animal, the health, safety or well-being of a person and on social amenity, the economy and the environment.  

The Act provides provisions to issue licenses and permits to entities who wish to exhibit and deal with native or exotic species in:

  • zoos
  • circuses
  • wildlife parks
  • mobile displays
  • magic acts.

Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936

Veterinary Surgeons Act is being reviewed.

Anyone wishing to practise veterinary science in Queensland must register with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland in accordance with the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936.

The Act states that only a person with accepted veterinary qualifications can be registered.

Once registered, a person is subject to prescribed standards of practice and behaviour. The Veterinary Surgeons Board has power under the Act to regulate those standards.

The board can also initiate legal proceedings against non-registered people who perform veterinary procedures in exchange for a fee or reward.

This Act also states that all veterinary premises must be approved by the Veterinary Surgeons Board.

The supporting subordinate legislation is the Veterinary Surgeons Regulation 2002.

See comprehensive detail on the regulation of veterinary science in Queensland on the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland website.