15 June 2018

ACT Government asks for community contribution in proposed biosecurity legislation

| Lachlan Roberts
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Red ants

Mr Gentleman said the proposed legislation will allow them to effectively control and manage new and existing threats.

The ACT Government is planning to modernise the ACT’s biosecurity legislation so they can “detect and respond quickly” to biosecurity threats and is asking the Canberra community to have their say.

ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman says the ACT Government wants to improve the way it manages biosecurity so the Territory can better respond to threats from invasive pests and diseases.

“Pests, diseases and other biosecurity threats do not respect borders. They directly threaten our environment and agriculture industry and we need to be ready to hit the ground running to identify and stop any pest or disease incursions before they balloon out of control,” Mr Gentleman said.

“We want to hear from the community about how we can better protect our environment and agriculture industries through the development of new biosecurity legislation.”

Mr Gentleman said the proposed legislation will allow the Government to effectively control and manage new and existing threats.

“For example, varroa mite could decimate the honey industry and the red imported fire ant would make outdoor living extremely uncomfortable if they spread into our parks and gardens,” he said.

“Pest animals such as foxes, rabbits and wild dogs are considered to be the primary cause of the loss of many native terrestrial species. At least 100 introduced plants that have become established in the wild in the ACT are highly invasive and pose a substantial threat to our natural environment.

“Our current legislation needs to be updated and made consistent with other states. It needs to incorporate the national message that biosecurity is a shared responsibility of governments, industries and individuals.”

The Biosecurity Act aims to introduce controls to manage:

  • threats to terrestrial and aquatic environments arising from pests and diseases
  • pests, diseases and contaminants that are economically significant for primary production industries
  • animal and plant pests and diseases, pest plants, animals and contaminants that may have an adverse effect on community activities, infrastructure, health and wellbeing.

It will:

  • include a range of tools for the management of biosecurity threats and risks and to ensure the most appropriate and effective response to biosecurity risks
  • include more relevant compliance and enforcement powers that better match circumstances and biosecurity threats. For instance, strong emergency powers; and
  • reduce red tape for businesses.

Community consultation started on 12 June and will be open for eight weeks.

If you would like to contribute to new biosecurity legislation that outlines how biosecurity risks in the ACT will be managed in the future: have your say here or attend an information session on Wednesday, 20 June at 6:00 pm at the Ainslie Football Club.

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