25 September 2023

Community to have bite on anti-bug laws

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The Minister for the Environment, Mick Gentleman has invited community comment on and suggestions for tightening up the ACT’s quarantine and biosecurity laws.

The move is a first step towards developing new laws to improve official responses to threats from invasive pests and diseases.

Mr Gentleman said the Government was planning to modernise the ACT’s biosecurity legislation to improve detection and responses to biosecurity threats and help Australia’s biosecurity system remain effective and sustainable.

He said 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.”

The Minister said two examples were the Varroa mite (pictured), which could decimate the honey industry, and the red imported fire ant, which would make outdoor living extremely uncomfortable if it spread into parks and gardens.

“Pest animals such as foxes, rabbits and wild dogs are considered to be the primary cause of the loss of many native terrestrial species,” Mr Gentleman said.

“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.”

He said ACT 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,” Mr Gentleman said.

Community consultation is open for eight weeks.

More information and details on how to make a contribution can be found at this PS News link and a 60-page consultation paper can be accessed at this link.

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