Last week, we used the example of the West Indian drywood termite, to explain that pests are hindering construction and destroying Queensland properties. This is expected to improve, under the implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2014. Termites aren’t the only culprits, when it comes to unleashing havoc. Builders must also overcome significant challenges posed by other pests, like the fire ant. These insects deliver a painful bite, and chew through wire insulation, damaging electrical equipment, as well as other tools. The vast majority of fire ant incursions have been in Queensland, and they pose a serious threat to the environment and economy. Fire ants can spread through shipments of infested soil, storing materials and other carriers, such as containers in fire ant biosecurity zones. This map points out the biosecurity zones for fire ants in South East Queensland, including the locations where restrictions apply. Using the example of the fire ant, we’ll touch on various approaches that builders and construction companies may need to take, under the Biosecurity Act 2014. Firstly, construction companies need to find out if their building is located in the fire ant biosecurity zone. If it is, then reasonable steps must be taken, especially when moving carriers into, within or outside of fire ant zones. For example, fire ant carriers may need to be kept under shade, cloth or tarpaulin, if these carriers are being kept in a biosecurity zone for at least 24 hours. Builders also need to consider regulation around handling baled hay, straw, soil, turf and other materials, such as by-products of plants. Chapter 5 of the Biosecurity regulation deals with this in greater detail. It’s worth becoming familiar with the Act, since it’s an offence to ignore a “general biosecurity obligation”. There could be negative consequences for those who fail to take action on risks that they’re aware of (including risks that they’re expected to know about).
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