Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh (in purple) and chief biosecurity officer Jim Thompson meet with cattle producers and representatives from the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, AgForce and the Cattle Council of Australia to discuss the discovery of Bovine Johne's disease on a cattle property at Bajool.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh (in purple) and chief biosecurity officer Jim Thompson meet with cattle producers and representatives from the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, AgForce and the Cattle Council of Australia to discuss the discovery of Bovine Johne's disease on a cattle property at Bajool. Kathleen Calderwood

New biosecurity bill to cut red tape and offer protection

RED tape is expected to be cut and further protection provided to Queensland agricultural industries under new legislation introduced to parliament today.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh says the new biosecurity legislation demonstrated the State Government's commitment to cutting red tape by repealing six biosecurity-related Acts and amending three others to ensure the laws are clearer, efficient and work to protect primary industries.

"Since becoming Minister last year I have met regularly with a broad range of agricultural industry representatives to discuss further amendments to the Bill," Mr McVeigh said.

"Over the past 12 months we have had to deal with the bovine Johnes disease (BJD), detection of Red Witch Weed in Mackay and the ongoing improvements to the fire ant program which has given us an opportunity to fine tune this new legislation. 

"So with an even broader range of biosecurity risks threatening our agriculture industries, legislative change is critical for us to adapt to these challenges. 

"The Bill will simplify a number of biosecurity-related permit schemes and provide a rationalisation of fees such as consolidating 56 cattle tick fees into 12 fees. 

"A single permit fee will now cover application and permit fees, and there will be a single permit renewal period, which will ease the regulatory burden for stakeholders who hold multiple types of permits. 

"A generic health certificate under the Bill will replace the current multiple certificates of health for stock, certificates for bees, and assurance certificates for plants."

Mr McVeigh said the Bill delivers a single legislative framework that provides the flexibility for officers to respond in a timely and effective way to emergencies and ongoing animal and plant diseases and pests.

"This greater flexibility will help to reduce impacts on agricultural industries, animals and the environment and reduce the risk of disease transfer between animals and humans," he said.

"In terms of pest and disease management, the Bill establishes obligations relating to the identification and movement of animals for disease tracing purposes.

"It also provides greater scope to manage emergency biosecurity events.  Delays in responding can increase risk of disease spreading and associated threats to human health, production and market access.

"This new legislation will allow Government to respond immediately to protect industry while scientific tests are underway.

"The Bill will allow for more comprehensive powers, including emergency powers, emergency biosecurity orders, emergency prohibited matter declarations, movement control orders, biosecurity zones and biosecurity programs.

"This will result in enhanced capabilities and flexibility for frontline staff, provide more cost effective responses and reduce burdens for industry, while ensuring the rights and liberties of individuals are safeguarded."

Mr McVeigh said that to ensure the views of industry are directly reflected in the regulations and codes of practice, a Biosecurity Regulations Reference Group is being formed.

"Representative groups ranging from AgForce to the Local Government Association of Queensland will be called on to provide feedback various aspects of the regulations to ensure they support both Government and industry needs."



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