Communique 20 June 2023

The Biosecurity Queensland Ministerial Advisory Council (BQMAC) met on 20 June 2023. The discussion focused on the funding announced in the Queensland budget and the progress of the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy 2025–2029.

BQMAC welcomed its new member, Associate Professor Susan Hester from the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA). The new Director- General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Chris Sarra, was a guest speaker who introduced himself to the Council and thanked them for their hard work and expertise.

Rachel Chay, Deputy Director-General and Chief Biosecurity Officer provided an update on recent Biosecurity Queensland activities including the Queensland budget. There was an allocation of more than $21.7 million to be invested over 5 years, and $2.8 million each year thereafter, for action against current and emerging plant pests and diseases. As part of the budget announcement 15 permanent jobs (FTEs) will be allocated to Biosecurity Queensland. The National Red Imported Fire Ants Eradication Program received $61 million in funding over 4 years for a new response plan after the 2021 independent review.

Council members noted the summary report of the Queensland Biosecurity Partners’ Forum and the progress of the 2024-Strategy writing group. It was noted that from the Partners’ Forum held in March 2023, there was consensus that the next strategy should focus on fewer actions and integrate monitoring and evaluation from the start. The Partners’ Forum participants also decided to combine intelligence and innovation into one theme and create a separate theme about response and preparedness.

There was also discussion about ‘futuring’ in the context of the Strategy development and the need for big picture thinking to plan for tomorrow’s problems. Five ‘futuring’ themes were discussed: digital and technology acceleration, climate change, generation next, the complexity conundrum, and increasing urbanisation. BQMAC members are nominating two of the five themes they consider to be a priority for further discussion.

Members noted and accepted the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee (IPAC) report and noted that the IPAC’s five-year strategy will be revised in 2024 to cover 2025-2030 and will need to align to the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy 2024-29.