Terms of reference—RIFA Eradication Program Steering Committee

Authority

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program – South East Queensland Steering Committee (the steering committee) was established by the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum in July 2017 to provide strategic oversight to the 10-year National Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Eradication Program in South East Queensland (the program).

The steering committee will provide guidance and support to the program’s operational team on all aspects of the program’s delivery to ensure that it has the best chance of achieving its objectives.

The steering committee is ultimately accountable to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AGSOC).

Responsibilities

The steering committee will have responsibility for:

  • providing leadership and guidance to the program’s operational team
  • approving of the RIFA eradication plan and detailed annual work plans
  • overseeing the implementation of the RIFA eradication plan, and providing direction on issues arising as deemed necessary
  • making decisions in relation to program budget matters (within the agreed program budget)
  • monitoring and evaluating program performance and progress
  • monitoring program risks and mitigation strategies
  • approving national communication activities e.g. national talking points
  • guiding the investigation of alternate sources of program funding
  • receiving and approving reports on program progress
  • reporting on the progress of the program.

In fulfilling its responsibilities, the steering committee will seek expert advice from third parties as required. This includes seeking technical advice from the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee (formerly the Tramp Ant Consultative Committee).

Reporting

The steering committee will:

  • receive and approve monthly progress reports provided by the program’s operational team that are consistent with the reporting guidelines specified by the steering committee
  • receive and approve quarterly performance reports provided by the program’s operational team that are consistent with the reporting guidelines specified by the steering committee
  • provide the monthly reports to the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee, recognising the close connection between the program and the ongoing work of the committee.
  • provide updates on program progress and performance to each meeting of the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC)
  • approve annual progress and performance reports and provide to AGSOC.

Sunset

The steering committee has been established for a period of 10 years until 30 June 2027. Any decision to extend the committee beyond this time will be the responsibility of the Agricultural Ministers’ Forum.

Review

The terms of reference will be reviewed every 12 months.

The teering Committee will also conduct an evaluation of its own operations annually to consider its effectiveness in delivering the RIFA Eradication Program.

Members

The teering Committee will be chaired by an Independent Chair. The membership comprises senior officials from the Australian, state and territory governments. The NBC will nominate the Independent Chair.

Jurisdictions may have up to 2 representatives.

The steering committee will have expertise in the follow subject areas:

  • scientific and technical matters as they relate to the implementation of the eradication plan
  • financial management
  • project management
  • risk management
  • compliance
  • research and development
  • communications

The skills composition of the steering committee will be reviewed within the first 6 months of its operation. Following this initial review, skills composition will be considered through the annual review of the terms of reference. If it is necessary to replace a member of the steering committee, the need to retain any specific required skills brought to the steering committee by the member being replaced should be considered in choosing the new member. Where the replacement of a member results in a jurisdiction no longer having a representative on the steering committee, that jurisdiction should be given an opportunity to nominate a new member, if it so chooses.

Proxies

Members may appoint a person as the member’s proxy to attend and vote for the member at meetings. The Chair may deputise the chairing of a meeting.

Other attendees

Other officers may be invited to attend meetings at the discretion of the Chair to provide information and advice to the committee.

Officers participating as presenters or observers are to ensure that discussions remain confidential.

Meetings

The steering committee will meet quarterly. However, the steering committee can be reconvened for additional meetings if required.

The steering committee will convene a forum with critical stakeholders on an annual basis. This forum will give the steering committee opportunity to provide updates, answer questions and receive advice and feedback from industry, environmental and community groups.

The steering committee may choose to establish sub-committees, from within its own membership, should more detailed consideration need to be given to specific matters.

Decision-making

Decisions will be made by consensus.

Quorum

A quorum for a steering committee meeting will include the:

  • the Chair, and
  • more than half the number of members.

Administration

Secretariat support is provided by the program through the Queensland Government.

Each member is responsible for meeting their own costs of participation in the steering committee.

The costs of participation for the Independent Chair will be met by the program.

A draft agenda for each scheduled meeting will be prepared by the secretariat. The agenda will be approved by the Chair.

The final agenda and papers will be circulated to all members by the secretariat at least one week prior to the meeting.

The secretariat will prepare a summary record of each meeting, including action items. The draft record will be circulated to members for comment and approval following the meeting. A communique will also be prepared by the secretariat for publication on the program website. The draft communique will be circulated to members for comment and approval following the meeting.