What is the Biosecurity Act 2014 and what does it mean for Queensland construction?
When it comes to pests, Queensland has a significant problem. Biosecurity threats are happening more frequently
(perhaps more than any other state in Australia).
Queensland’s environmental diversity and climatic conditions are largely to blame, as well as an increase in global travel and trade. Pests (like fire ants) don’t just inflict burning stings on unlucky individuals, they also damage equipment and infrastructure, impacting construction projects, as well as land and business values.
This is where new legislation comes in, which could benefit the construction industry, as well as change its approach to pest management. Biosecurity is not usually a crucial factor to consider when planning, designing or constructing, but this could all change, under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
A basic explanation of the Act:
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries introduced the Biosecurity Act 2014, in July this year. The government is encouraging people to become more diligent, by sharing the responsibility for biosecurity. Their aim is to protect the economy, environment, agricultural and tourism industries, by minimising the spread of biosecurity risks.
What’s a biosecurity risk?
It can be classified as anything that has the potential to negatively impact human health, the economy, society or the environment. These risks are caused by pests, diseases, contaminants or anything that could carry a pest, disease or contaminant (such as animals, plants, soil or equipment).
The Biosecurity Act 2014 incorporates previous legislation. It also introduces new fees, reporting measures and surveillance, as well as prevention and control measures. Although compliance is described as voluntary, Biosecurity Queensland has the power to issue biosecurity orders requiring specific action from individuals, businesses or organisations. Those who ignore the orders could be slapped with fines, have their permit cancelled or face other repercussions.
Next week, we’ll explore how the construction industry might benefit from these changes.