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Horticulture growers

The Biosecurity Act 2014 (the Act) will come into effect on 1 July 2016. The following information provides details of the changes to biosecurity legislation under the new Act. Existing legislation remains in place until the commencement of the new act on 1 July 2016.

The Biosecurity Act 2014 (the Act) will come into effect on 1 July 2016.

The Act will improve Queensland's biosecurity preparedness and response capabilities. Under the Act, we will be better placed to focus on the biosecurity risks that impact our economy, our agricultural and tourism industries, our environment and our lifestyle.

All individuals and organisations whose activities pose a biosecurity risk will have a legal responsibility for managing them.

The general biosecurity obligation for fruit and vegetable growers

As a grower you will need to take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under your control. You will not be expected to know about all biosecurity risks, but you will be expected to know about those associated with your day-to-day work and your hobbies.

The general biosecurity obligation means you will need to ensure your activities do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant. You will need to:

  • take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise each biosecurity risk;  
  • minimise the likelihood of the risk causing a biosecurity event and limit the consequences of such an event; and  
  • prevent or minimise the adverse effects the risk could have and refrain from doing anything that might exacerbate the adverse effects.  

A biosecurity risk exists when you deal with any pest, disease or contaminant, or with something that could carry one of these. This includes, for example, moving diseased plant material, or associated soil or equipment, off the property.

A biosecurity event is caused by a pest, disease or contaminant that is, or is likely to become, a significant problem for your industry, human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment.

Zones and movement restrictions in Queensland

Far Northern Biosecurity Zones

Far north Queensland is a high risk area for the introduction of plant pests and diseases from nearby Papua New Guinea. The spread of pests into the rest of the state poses a significant risk to our agricultural industries. It is therefore proposed that two biosecurity zones will be established in the  northern half of the Cape York Peninsula to control the movement of risk items that may carry pest and diseases to the south. Pests and diseases, such as red banded mango caterpillar, will be included in these Far Northern Biosecurity Zone restrictions.

It is proposed that the Far Northern Biosecurity Zone 1 (FNBZ1) be established to include areas of Queensland north of the Jardine River. The Far Northern Biosecurity Zone 2 (FNBZ 2) would then include areas of the state between the southern boundary of FNBZ 1 and north of Coen. It is proposed that  movement of plants, plant pests, soils and appliances will be prohibited south from FNBZ 1 to FNBZ 2 without permit. The same restrictions would apply to materials moving south out of FNBZ 2 into the rest of Queensland.

Papaya ringspot virus zones

Papaya ringspot virus represents a threat to Queensland's papaya industry. It is therefore proposed that a biosecurity zone be established in southern Queensland to reflect the current papaya ringspot quarantine area. This zone will restrict the movement of carriers, such as papaya plants, without  a biosecurity certificate. A second smaller zone is proposed to be established to restrict the movement of cucurbit plants without a permit. All other movements of cucurbit plants are considered to be low risk.

Papaya ringspot virus will also be included under the Act as restricted matter, meaning that it will be an offence to deal with it and its presence should be notified to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Grape phylloxera

Grape phylloxera is a significant pest of grapevines and a threat to the grape and wine industries of Queensland. Under current legislation, it is illegal to move phylloxera, a grape plant, grape plant products, vineyard soil or an associated appliance into a grape phylloxera risk zone or an exclusion  zone.

Under the new legislation, grape phylloxera is prohibited matter and therefore it is an offence to deal with it. It is also proposed that specific regulations will be put in place to manage the risk of phylloxera carriers. It is proposed that the current approach of having a grape phylloxera exclusion  zone for part of the state, and a grape phylloxera restricted zone for the rest of the state, be continued. Movement restrictions will continue to apply to carriers of grape phylloxera into Queensland and between the two zones.

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

We are committed to keeping Queensland free from Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). As such, current regulatory restrictions on the introduction of Medfly carriers, including host fruits and vegetables will be continued. A biosecurity certificate will be required if these hosts are being moved into Queensland  from an area where Medfly has been found. Medfly is also prohibited matter under the Act, which makes it an offence to deal with the pest in any way.

Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV)

CGMMV has been detected in Charters Towers. At this time, the Department continues to pursue eradication of the virus, given its very limited distribution. As such, it is proposed that it continue to be an offence to move cucurbit plants, CGMMV and other risk items into or within Queensland without  a biosecurity certificate. It is proposed that the property currently infested with CGMMV will be designated as a restricted place until eradication is achieved.

Potato pests

The introduction of potato pests such as golden nematode and potato cyst nematode into Queensland represents a significant threat to the industry. Both of these pests are prohibited matter under the new Act and it will be an offence to deal with these pests. However, their carriers do require specific  regulation to mitigate the risk of spread. As such, it is proposed that it will be an offence to move a host plant or soil into Queensland, unless it meets any of the following criteria:

  • from outside a potato cyst infested area  
  • accompanied with a biosecurity certificate stating that the risks have been addressed  
  • the plant has been produced under an approved scheme.  

Branched broomrape

Branched broomrape is a weed that is a serious pest of crops and pastures. It is not present in Queensland, and as such, continued regulatory control is appropriate. Branched broomrape is prohibited matter under the Act and it is an offence to deal with it. It is also proposed that the new regulation  will make it an offence to bring carriers, such as lucerne hay, into Queensland from a place where branched broomrape has been detected, without a biosecurity certificate.

Queensland Biosecurity Manual and Biosecurity Certificates

The movement restrictions being established within and into Queensland aim to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases that affect our horticultural industries. These restrictions will apply to risk materials including fruit and vegetables, soil on which these plants have been grown,  and appliances that have been in contact with high risk plants.

However, these items can be approved to move by obtaining a biosecurity certificate. A biosecurity certificate is used to certify that the risk materials meet the requirements outlined in the ‘Queensland Biosecurity Manual’. This manual sets out how risk materials must be treated, inspected,  sourced or packed prior to obtaining a biosecurity certificate.

Where movements are from interstate into Queensland, existing trading arrangements will apply. Certificates issued by interstate authorities or under Interstate Certification Assurance (ICA) arrangements meet Queensland's entry requirements as they are recognised as biosecurity certificates.

Accreditation

Queensland's existing plant health certification system will continue under the Act. There will be some changes to the terminology used and to the system itself, however this should not result in any disruption to trade arrangements that are in place. A person or business can still apply to become  accredited under the ICA scheme, or other non-ICA accreditation, and issue certificates. Alternatively, Biosecurity Queensland inspectors can inspect and certify produce and other plant material as required. A Plant Health Certificate issued by an inspector and Plant Health Assurance Certificate by an  accredited business are both forms of acceptable biosecurity certificates under the Act.

Where the legislation establishes movement restrictions on commodities coming into Queensland, a certificate issued by an interstate authority is recognised as a biosecurity certificate and can facilitate the movement into Queensland, provided the requirements of the ‘Queensland Biosecurity Manual’  have been met.

More information

To find out more about your responsibilities call us on 13 25 23.