February 2018—Steering Committee meeting

The Steering Committee for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program – South East Queensland (the National Program) met for the third time on 7 February 2018 in Brisbane. This followed an initial meeting of the interim Steering Committee on 5 July and the established Steering Committee on 17 November 2017.

The Steering Committee has been established to provide overarching governance, strategic oversight and advice on the National Program and consists of senior Commonwealth and interstate biosecurity representatives. The Steering Committee is independently chaired by Dr Wendy Craik.

The steering committee members are:

Dr Wendy Craik Independent Chair
Josephine Laduzco Australian Government
Dr John Robertson Queensland
Dr Bruce Christie New South Wales
Michael Rosier Victoria
Sarah Corcoran Northern Territory
Dr Lloyd Klumpp Tasmania
Dr Sonya Broughton Western Australia

A proxy attended for the Northern Territory.

The Steering Committee received an update on the National Program’s ramp up, implementation and community and stakeholder engagement activities. The Steering Committee also learned of past practices for remote sensing surveillance of red imported fire ants (fire ants) and developments in technologies with respect to this, including the possible use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (for example, drones).

Dr Pam Swepson was invited to the meeting to present her views which the Steering Committee discussed.

The National Program’s draft Compliance Strategy was discussed, with the Strategy to be considered again by the Steering Committee upon its finalisation. The Steering Committee approved a submission to the National Biosecurity Committee to provide a National Program update, and consideration of the suitability of movement controls for fire ants and scientific principles that underpin these across other jurisdictions.

The Steering Committee considered the process for establishing an annual review of risks to the National Program. A risk planning workshop to coincide with the next Steering Committee in May 2018 was agreed.

To conclude, a draft National Program funding agreement was tabled, for subsequent finalisation with all Australian jurisdictions.

For updates visit the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program.