Surveillance and diagnostics project

The Surveillance and Diagnostics Project is a four year $2.6 million project that will deliver world-class, quality assured diagnostic testing for plant pests and diseases that pose a risk to Queensland and Australia’s economy, environment and communities. A key objective of the project will be the development and implementation of a Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) in Biosecurity Queensland’s Plant Biosecurity Laboratory (PBL) located at the Ecosciences Precinct at Dutton Park. A secondary objective will be National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation of the PBL to ISO/IEC 17025: General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

The PBL will work with providers of plant pest and disease diagnostic testing services within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), the national plant diagnostic network and other external bodies to ensure Queensland has a comprehensive and proficient testing capability for all plant pests and diseases.

The Surveillance and Diagnostics Project will also fund an additional 5 fulltime permanent positions within the PBL, bringing the total number of full time equivalent staff working in the laboratory to 13.  These additional permanent positions will ensure the laboratory has the capability and capacity to undertake routine diagnostic testing, as well as increased capacity to provide rapid, high throughput diagnostic testing during responses to plant pest and disease incursions. Recruitment for these new positions has commenced with two positions, including that of Laboratory Manager, already filled.

The other key deliverable of the Surveillance and Diagnostic Project is a review of DAF’s policies for cost recovery for diagnostic testing services provided for animal and plant pests and diseases.  This review will ensure diagnostic testing services provided by DAF support Queensland’s surveillance objectives for early detection of exotic pests and disease incursions while maximising cost recovery where these services provide substantial private benefit.