Communique 24 September 2021

The Biosecurity Queensland Ministerial Advisory Council (BQMAC) met (online) on 24 September 2021 and discussed the findings of the Biosecurity Partners Forum.

More than 100 stakeholders participated in the online Forum from 14-16 September.

During the Forum, BQMAC members led workshops that focused on the mid-term review of the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy 2018–2023 and priority actions for the future.

Guest speakers provided insights into the importance of partnerships with reference to the five shared values of mutual trust, purpose, role clarity, empowering responsibility, and collaboration. The annual partnership voted on these 5 co-developed values, conducted at the Forum, found that the health of the partnership is going from strength to strength increasing from 3.5 to 3.7 since the last forum. Members acknowledged effort is still required to improve mutual trust between partners, where the rating did not increase this year.

The Forum concluded that the Strategy is the right vehicle and direction for the biosecurity partnership and is fostering involved and contributing partners.

Presentations and workshops on future priorities ranged from new technologies to biosecurity-related behaviour change. Other topics discussed included the need to increase focus and investment to prevention and to showcase successes (and near-misses).

BQMAC reviewed a draft report prepared by Biosecurity Queensland providing an overview of the future actions prioritised by Partners at the Forum. Members noted that to progress new priorities, investment will need to be reprioritised away from established pests toward prevention and preparedness activities and this will require leadership and commitment by both government and industry. Industry and community leaders will need to promote the benefits of prevention and co-develop key messaging. Government needs to demonstrate the role it is playing in compliance action against offenders. There is also a need to showcase successes (and near-misses) to increase public acceptability and attract funding.

BQMAC discussed issues for prioritisation including:

  • Partnering between government and industry/community partners to design and deliver “practical” (in addition to “desk-top”) training and simulation exercises for emergency responses.
  • Co-developing an advocacy strategy that facilitates partners’ influence over biosecurity priorities.
  • Ensuring the sustainability of the Biosecurity Commons project.
  • Collaboration with conservation/community group partners to include local government.
  • Ensuring messaging reaches managers and attendees of farmers markets and online vendors and purchasers.
  • Matching the messaging to the target audience when providing evidence of the value of prevention.

BQMAC will continue to work with Biosecurity Queensland on detailed prioritisation of the actions and members will have an opportunity to nominate as a project sponsor, or nominate colleagues, to participate in project delivery. Members supported extending the “Sprint” methodology that Biosecurity Queensland had developed for new projects, to the new partnership actions under the Strategy.

The Chair acknowledged the success of the Forum based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants and the survey results that found that the Forum delivered on the partners’ expectations and congratulated the officers from Biosecurity Queensland who organised and managed the Forum. Members suggested future improvements, for example, using smaller working groups with more time devoted to break out discussions, and ensuring training institutions are included.">