May 2019—Steering Committee meeting

On Wednesday 22 May 2019, the Steering Committee for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program – South East Queensland (the Program) visited the Berrinba site to meet with Program staff and volunteers, and view the operational aspects of the Program.  During National Volunteers Week, the Steering Committee presented Program volunteers with awards for their service, which totalled over 900 volunteer hours in the last year.  They bring a wealth of skills and experience, and support the Program’s objectives and ultimate goal of eradication.  This was followed by a very informative field trip to Azalea Grove Nursery at Redland Bay.

The Steering Committee met for the quarterly meeting on Thursday, 23 May 2019.

The attendees at the Steering Committee meeting were:

Name Position/Area
Wendy Craik Independent Chair
Josephine Laduzko Australian Government
John Robertson Queensland
Scott Charlton New South Wales (on behalf of Bruce Christie)
Michael Rosier Victoria
John van Schagen Western Australia

The Northern Territory provided comments on the agenda items.

During its meeting, the Steering Committee:

  • reviewed and provided feedback on the outline of the 2019-20 Work Plan.  The new work plan will continue much of the treatment and surveillance work described in the 2018-19 plan, including the continuation of treatment of Area 1 Eradication Treatment Area, Western Boundary Treatment Area, and the Western Suppression Area and include the adjustments described in the Addendum to the Ten Year Eradication Plan 2017-18 to 2026-27
  • approved the amendment to the Western Boundary Treatment Plan
  • considered and approved the Terms of Reference of an Efficiency and Effectiveness Review to be undertaken.  As outlined in the Ten Year Plan, this type of review should take place every two years
  • considered the format for the August Stakeholder Forum and noted the progress of the Community Partnership and Industry Collaboration Groups
  • discussed the possibility of the National Biosecurity Website hosting a webpage for the NRIFAEP Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee also discussed and noted:

  • the General Manager’s update in relation to the Program, including:
    • the Remote Sensing surveillance Project
    • the 2nd and 3rd Quarterly Report for 2018-19
    • the RIFA detection at Bromelton
    • treatment protocols for turf producers
    • Self-management pilots – Queensland Urban Utilities/Developers
  • the program’s financial report presenting the financial performance of the Program as at 31 March 2019
  • the update on the performance review of the Program’s major contracts:
    • labour hire
    • manufacture and supply of bait
    • aircraft charter
  • the two Internal Audit Reports and the summary of actions:
    • National RIFA Eradication Program Review – Governance and Operational Planning
    • NRIFAEP Procurement Review
  • matters discussed by the National Exotic Invasive Ant Scientific Advisory Group since their first face to face meeting held in February 2019, including:
    • movement controls and industry – nursery
    • scoping for proof of freedom
    • analysis of efficacy of six rounds of treatment
    • risk assessment to be conducted on product and pathways
    • second face to face meeting to be held in October 2019
  • the update on Risk Management by the Program.

The Steering Committee will next meet in August 2019, when the Steering Committee will also host its second Stakeholder Forum.

For more information about the Steering Committee’s role, visit