Terms of reference—RIFA Eradication Program Steering Committee
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 ten year National Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Eradication Program in South East Queensland (the program).
The Steering Committee will also provide guidance and support to the program’s operational team on all aspects of the program’s delivery to ensure it has the best chance of achieving its objectives.
The Steering Committee is ultimately accountable to the Agriculture Ministers of all state and territory governments, and the federal government.
The Steering Committee will have responsibility for:
- providing leadership and guidance to the program’s operational team
- endorsing the RIFA Ten Year Eradication Plan 2017-18 to 2026-27 for approval by Agriculture Ministers
- approving three year and annual work plans
- overseeing the implementation of the RIFA Ten Year 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
- monitoring program risks and mitigation strategies and determining risk appetites and tolerances
- approving national communication activities e.g. national talking points
- guiding the investigation of additional sources of program funding and/or delivery
- commissioning scientific work and seeking advice
- reporting on the progress of the program
- advising the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), Agriculture Senior Official’s Committee (AGSOC) and Agriculture Ministers if any of the program triggers have been met.
In fulfilling its responsibilities, the Steering Committee will seek expert advice from third parties as required. The Steering Committee has established a National Exotic Invasive Ant Scientific Advisory Group to provide specialist scientific advice, a Risk Management Sub-Committee to provide advice on the program risks and mitigation strategies and a Sub-Committee to oversee implementation of the recommendations of the biennial independent efficiency and effectiveness review. Working Groups may be established on an as needs basis.
The Steering Committee will:
- receive weekly updates and monthly reports (by exception) provided by the program
- approve quarterly and annual performance reports provided by the Program
- provide updates on Program progress and performance to each meeting of the NBC
- provide annual performance reports to NBC, AGSOC and Agriculture Ministers.
The Steering Committee has been established for a period of ten years until 30 June 2027. Any decision to extend the committee beyond this time will be the responsibility of the Agricultural Ministers.
The terms of reference will be reviewed every 12 months.
The Steering Committee will also conduct an annual evaluation of its own operations to consider its effectiveness in supporting delivery of the eradication program.
The Steering 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 two representatives.
The Steering Committee will have expertise in the following subject areas:
- scientific and technical matters as they relate to the implementation of the eradication plan
- financial management
- project management
- risk management
- research and development
The skills composition will be reviewed every 12 months as part of the annual review of the Steering Committee operations. 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.
Members may appoint a person as the member’s proxy to attend and vote for the member at meetings. For longer term absence, the member should advise the Steering Committee of the temporary replacement.
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.
Officers and external subject matter experts may be invited from time to time to provide advice (for 12 months or other period as agreed) as a critical friend of the Steering Committee.
Changes to steering committee membership
The Steering Committee may approve changes to membership.
An existing Steering Committee member must formally advise the Chair of their intention to withdraw from the Committee’s membership. The jurisdiction of the departing Steering Committee member may nominate a replacement for consideration by the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee must advise the National Biosecurity Committee of any changes to the Steering Committee membership.
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.
Decisions will be made by consensus.
A quorum for a steering committee meeting will include the:
- the Chair, and
- more than half the number of members.
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 two weeks prior to the meeting.
The secretariat will prepare a summary record of each meeting, including action items. The draft record will be circulated to the Chair within one week and to members for comment and approval within two weeks following the meeting. The record of the quarterly meetings will be published to the Program website.
A project officer may be appointed to support the functioning of the Steering Committee.
The Chair will be the spokesperson for Communications. The Chair can delegate to another member of the Steering Committee as appropriate.