The new Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 (the Act) will come into effect on 1 July 2016.
According to the State Government, the Act will improve Queensland’s biosecurity preparedness and response capabilities.
Under the Act, the Queensland government will be better placed to focus on the biosecurity risks affecting the banana industry, our economy, the environment and our lifestyle.
Under the changes, Director of Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity with Biosecurity Queensland, Melissa Cummins, said individuals and organisations whose activities pose a biosecurity risk will have a legal responsibility for managing them.
“As a banana grower you will need to take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under your control,” Ms Cummins said.
“Far north Queensland is a high risk area for the introduction of plant pests and diseases from nearby Papua New Guinea.
“The spread of pests into the rest of the state poses a significant risk to our agricultural industries. Two biosecurity zones have therefore been established in the northern half of the Cape York Peninsula to control the movement of risk items that may carry pest and diseases to the south,” she said.
Banana pests and diseases, such as black Sigatoka, will be included in these Far Northern Biosecurity Zone restrictions.
There will be restrictions on the movement of risk items into Queensland without a biosecurity certificate, including banana plants, soil and items (including appliances) associated with banana production from a jurisdiction where serious pests and diseases of banana are found.
These restrictions extend to the movement of banana fruit from the Northern Territory where banana freckle has been detected.
Certificates issued by interstate authorities or under Interstate Certification Assurance (ICA) arrangements meet Queensland’s entry requirements as they are recognised as biosecurity certificates.
Where movements are from interstate into Queensland, existing trading arrangements will apply.
Panama disease tropical race 4
Under the new legislation, restrictions will continue to apply to infested properties and properties suspected of having Panama disease tropical race 4, consistent with the current arrangements.
Surveillance programs will be in place to support Biosecurity Queensland officers to undertake activities to determine the presence or absence of the disease on banana farms and to also ensure that regulatory requirements are being met on infested properties.
Queensland’s existing plant health certification system will continue under the Act.
There will be some changes to the terminology used and to the system itself, however this should not result in any disruption to trade arrangements that are in place.
To find out more visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.