General biosecurity obligation
Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and we must all play a role to ensure we minimise biosecurity risks to protect Queensland’s lifestyle, industries and environment from pests and diseases.
All Queenslanders have a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) under Queensland's Biosecurity Act 2014 to ensure you do not spread a pest, disease or a contaminant.
This means everyone is responsible for managing biosecurity risks that are under their control; and to the best of their ability, recognise and minimise biosecurity risks within their industry, home, or places they are visiting.
Under the GBO, individuals and organisations whose activities pose a biosecurity risk must:
- take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise each biosecurity risk
- minimise the likelihood of causing a 'biosecurity event ', and limit the consequences if such an event is caused
- prevent or minimise the harmful effects a risk could have, and not do anything that might make any harmful effects worse.
Steps to prevent or minimise a biosecurity risk
You can prevent or minimise a biosecurity risk:
- Come clean, go clean - before entering and leaving agricultural properties, parks or forests, ensure your shoes, clothing, vehicles or equipment are free from weed seeds, dirt, soil or debris.
- Check for and follow biosecurity zones and other movement restrictions - before moving certain plant material, animals, food products, soil and related equipment, ensure you are aware of and comply with any requirements in your area.
- Spot and report anything unusual - if this is the first time you have noticed a pest or disease, and you think it may have an impact on human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
- Take reasonable steps to be informed about pests and diseases visit your local government’s website for more information on specific risks to your area. You can also sign-up to receive updates and alerts on our website and follow us on social media.
How your GBO applies to your activities
In addition to following steps to prevent or minimise a biosecurity risk, you must also take all reasonable steps to meet your GBO. Even if you are permitted to access places under an Act, you still have a GBO to minimise biosecurity risks.
Visiting agricultural properties or recreational places
If you visit agricultural properties or recreational areas you are reasonably expected to know about the pests, diseases or weeds you may introduce through your activities.
To meet your GBO you should:
- Ensure your shoes, clothing, vehicles or equipment are free from weed seeds, dirt, soil or debris before entering and leaving agricultural properties, parks or forests. You can do this by cleaning down these items before you go or carrying a biosecurity kit in your vehicle.
- Comply with reasonable measures within the biosecurity management plan.
For those permitted to access places under legislation, compliance with the biosecurity management plan is not compulsory however it will outline specific risks to the property to help you meet your GBO.
- Follow any reasonable directions by the landholder, this may include driving on designated tracks, abiding by signage, avoiding movement through certain areas and leaving gates as you find them.
Livestock or crop commercial operator
If you are a commercial operator in the crop or livestock industries, you have a GBO to ensure you protect the environment, your business and all other industries from pest and diseases. To meet your GBO you should:
- Have a current biosecurity plan or biosecurity management plan in place that adequately assesses your individual biosecurity risks and outlines the measures you will take to manage these.
- Check if you meet the criteria to register as a biosecurity entity. By registering and keeping your contact details up to date, this helps us better prepare for and respond to biosecurity emergencies.
- Consider becoming part of an industry group such as your state farming organisation or peak industry body to help stay informed on industry matters.
- Ensure you are aware of local government biosecurity plans that identify important biosecurity risks and associated requirements in your area.
Moving biosecurity matter
If you transport agricultural produce, you are expected to check whether the transportation could spread diseases or pests. To meet your GBO you should:
- Check for and follow biosecurity zones and other movement restrictions.
- Ensure you are aware of and comply with any requirements in areas that you conduct your business before moving certain plant material, animals, food products, soil and related equipment.
- Ensure you are aware of local government biosecurity plans that identify important pests and associated requirements in the area.
Living in Queensland
As a resident of a visitor in Queensland, you are expected to know the basics about how to reduce the risk of spreading a pest or disease and be informed about the problem pests in your local area. To meet your GBO you should:
- Stay informed about the pests and diseases that could affect or be carried by your animals, whether it be livestock or pets.
- Know what animals or plants you can keep in Queensland to ensure you’re not spreading pests and diseases.
- Understand what risks your recreational hobbies pose. If you fish or enjoying the great outdoors ensure you clean down equipment before and after use such as fishing equipment or camping gear to ensure these don’t spread pests and diseases.
- Research the species of plants you are using to ensure you are not possessing or distributing an invasive species before you propagate plants for gifts or sell at market stalls.
- Contact your local government to identify the problem pests and diseases in your area to ensure you are not contributing to their spread.
Travelling around Australia
If you are travelling around Australia by plane, train, water or road, you are expected to know what you can and cannot take into different states and territories.
Before travelling, visit the Australian Interstate Quarantine map to check what food, plant and animal products require permits, can come with you or must be disposed of.
Ensure you stay informed of the latest travel advice of your destination and be on the lookout for signage.
Reporting and staying informed
Spot and report anything unusual - if this is the first time you have noticed a pest or disease, and you suspect it may have an impact on human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Biosecurity Queensland focuses on educating Queenslanders about biosecurity and encouraging voluntary compliance with the GBO. To achieve this, Biosecurity Queensland generally provides advice on managing specific risks. A biosecurity officer can also issue a biosecurity order requiring specific action to be taken within a reasonable time.
When necessary, Biosecurity Queensland takes formal compliance action to ensure an individual, business or other organisation improves the way they manage biosecurity risks. Not complying with the GBO is an offence.
Biosecurity Queensland may also seek a court order or the amendment, suspension or cancellation of a permit or other approval.