Communique 10 June 2022

The Biosecurity Queensland Ministerial Advisory Council (BQMAC) met (online) on 10 June 2022.

BQMAC received an update on emerging issues and priorities from Biosecurity Queensland including emergency animal diseases, the establishment of the Queensland Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce and some current initiatives.

BQMAC noted that there was an imminent threat of serious emergency animal diseases spreading to Queensland and an outbreak would have significant economic and social impacts, especially in rural areas, over an extended period. Members agreed that Biosecurity Queensland's response readiness had been enhanced by important capability building over recent years and commended the preparedness work that had been undertaken in relation to African Swine Fever that had ensured the pork industry were well organised and were managing key biosecurity risks when Japanese Encephalitis (JE) was detected.

BQMAC also discussed the relatively high number of resource-hungry plant pest and disease incursions being dealt with, noting plant biosecurity incursions often impact diverse sectors and impacts can extend to the environment and social amenity. Addressing these incursions has affected prevention and preparedness capacity building for plant biosecurity risks, despite the risk these would also have long term and significant impacts if not dealt with effectively.

BQMAC further noted the high number of invasive species incursions, especially ants, and the need to also appropriately resource prevention and preparedness for invasive plants and animals.

BQMAC noted that prevention and preparedness are unseen heroes in biosecurity. They are not as visible or as easily measurable as response, containment and asset protection but they represent a better return on investment.

BQMAC recommended that the Minister:

  • ensure there is appropriate planning for the increased likelihood of an emergency animal disease event in Queensland including awareness across Government that:
    • there is potential for concurrent events that could be long lasting and require significant mobilisation of personnel; and
    • support may be required for industries and regions experiencing prolonged social and economic impacts
  • consider an all hazards approach to biosecurity threats, including the potential for multiple serious plant biosecurity emergencies and invasive pests and weeds of national significance
  • urge the Queensland Government to prioritise investment in prevention and preparedness to meet the threat posed by emergency animal diseases across a broader range of industries, and for plant biosecurity emergencies and invasive pests and weeds.

Finally, members briefly discussed the progress of actions plans under the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy 2018-2023 and resolved that the next meeting will focus on the future direction of the Strategy to continue and expand the outcomes achieved so far. BQMAC supported the preparations Biosecurity Queensland were undertaking for this year’s Partners Forum and National Roundtable.