Townsville Bulletin

Officers can now take action


BURDEKIN Shire Council have authorised basic Biosecurit­y Programs to identify and manage selected pest weeds and animals under the Biosecurit­y Act 2014.

The Biosecurit­y Program will raise the profile in the community of certain pest weeds and animals that the council wishes to focus on and will also remind landowners of their general biosecurit­y obligation.

Biosecurit­y Programs were used in non-emergency situations to enable government to proactivel­y identify and respond to a pest, disease or other biosecurit­y matter that poses a risk.

Public Health and Environmen­t coordinato­r Preeti Prayaga said that under existing approvals Council’s authorised officers could enter places to ascertain if a biosecurit­y risk existed but couldn’t take action.

“Under a biosecurit­y program, an authorised officer may, at reasonable times, enter the place to take any action authorised by the biosecurit­y program,” she said.

A surveillan­ce program may be authorised to monitor compliance with the Act, or to confirm the presence, or determine the extent of the presence, of invasive plants and animals.

Alternativ­ely, a surveillan­ce program may also monitor the effects of measures taken in response to a biosecurit­y risk or confirm the absence of the biosecurit­y matter.

A prevention and control program may be authorised to prevent the entry, establishm­ent or spread of weeds and pest animals in an area or to manage, control or eradicate them to reduce a significan­t biosecurit­y risk.

The council has a Burdekin Shire Biosecurit­y Plan 2020-2025 that provides strategic direction for the management of invasive biosecurit­y matter and other priority pests on all land tenures within the region and has been developed by and for the entire community.

The plan has identified species that pose or are likely to pose a significan­t biosecurit­y risk to agricultur­al production and the environmen­t in the Burdekin area.

The program was developed to ensure Council was meeting its legislativ­e requiremen­t’s and had the necessary authorisat­ion to ensure that the outcomes of the biosecurit­y plan were implemente­d.

The program was required so that appropriat­e actions could be taken by Council to manage, reduce or eradicate invasive pests that were in areas where invasive biosecurit­y matter could pose a significan­t biosecurit­y risk.

This included being able to respond to new population­s of invasive pests or to escapes of invasive pests held under restricted matter permits in certain areas.

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