May 2018—Steering Committee meeting

The Steering Committee for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program – South East Queensland (the Program) met for the fourth time on 9 and 10 May 2018. This follows the inaugural meeting in July 2017 and subsequent meetings in November 2017 and February 2018.

The Steering Committee has been established to provide overarching governance, strategic oversight and advice on the 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

Proxies attended for Victoria and Western Australia.

On 9 May, the Steering Committee took part in a workshop to explore the Program’s risk framework. At the workshop, the Steering Committee considered a range of tactical risks impacting the Program, and agreed for a Risk Management Sub-committee to be established. The sub-committee will report to the Steering Committee and oversee enhancements to the current risk management framework as the Program matures.

On the afternoon of 9 May, the Steering Committee participated in a stakeholder forum with more than 40 industry, government and community stakeholder representatives to discuss ideas on community engagement and garner stakeholder buy-in into the Program’s community and stakeholder activities. Nominations for a stakeholder collaboration group to the Program were also sought.

At its formal meeting on 10 May, the Steering Committee considered the Program’s progress. The General Manager to the Program, John Jordan, provided an update to the Steering Committee on various aspects including:

  • treatment considerations which were endorsed by the Steering Committee for the remainder of 2017–18 and 2018–19, and the forward key performance indicators for 2018–19
  • community and stakeholder engagement activities including the afore-mentioned stakeholder forum
  • information management systems
  • science and new treatment options
  • finalising ramp up activities including recruitment and new head office accommodation for Program staff.

The Steering Committee was also provided an update on the Program’s budget status and considered progress needed to finalise the Collaborative Funding Agreement. Proposed Program capital expenditure was also approved.

Further, the Steering Committee conducted in-person discussions with stakeholder guests: Andrew Cox, Chief Executive Officer - Invasive Species Council; and Dr Peter Davis of Western Australia.

To conclude, the Steering Committee received a presentation on contemporary developments in understanding the science and genetics of red imported fire ant. The Steering Committee provided approval for the establishment of a national expert scientific advisory body to the Program.

The Steering Committee will next meet in August 2018.

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