New biosecurity laws for livestock producers

Biosecurity Queensland is urging livestock producers to be aware of the new biosecurity laws and what they mean for their business. Queensland’s new Biosecurity Act 2014 commenced on 1 July 2016.

A new cattle tick framework commenced on 1 July 2016. It provides producers with more options for managing cattle tick on their property. The framework supports reduced travel times and costs for producers impacted by cattle tick and provides more flexibility for low risk activities such as moving livestock to feedlots and abattoirs.

It also allows for accredited certifiers – people trained to inspect and certify livestock as free from ticks. Accredited certifiers can issue certificates at any location, not just a dip or clearing facility. This allows livestock to be certified at their place of origin and moved directly to their destination, saving the producer additional loading, travel and costs.

All producers still have an obligation to report cattle tick and tick fever in the free zone. Infested properties in the free zone need to ensure their livestock are tick free before they are moved and eradicate the ticks from their property. Biosecurity Queensland will continue to provide surveillance for cattle ticks in the free zone to identify and monitor high risk areas, and to ensure that eradication programs on infested properties are effective.

The property identification code (PIC) system is continuing. If you keep designated animals, you are considered a registrable biosecurity entity and must register your details with Biosecurity Queensland. This is similar to the previous property registration requirements – the terminology of who must register is a little different, but what is considered a designated animal remains unchanged.

You must register if you keep:

  • One or more cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, bison, buffalo, deer, members of the camel family, members of the equine family
  • 100 or more designated birds – those that are raised for human consumption (poultry) or the production of eggs for human consumption (e.g. chickens), or that have been released into free flight since they started being kept in captivity (e.g. racing pigeons)
  • One or more bee hives.

In most cases the owner of the animals needs to register because they normally have ultimate care and control of the animals. If you keep livestock, when you register as a biosecurity entity a PIC will be issued. If you already held a PIC you were automatically registered as a biosecurity entity on 1 July 2016 and registration will remain effective for three years.

A major theme of the new laws is that of shared responsibility – that everyone is responsible for managing their own biosecurity risks. The laws introduce the general biosecurity obligation, meaning livestock producers must take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under their control and must ensure their actions do not spread plant and animal pests, diseases or contaminants.

You are not expected to know about all types of pests and diseases, however you are expected to know about those that you could potentially come across as part of your daily activities. You need to ensure you can recognise and manage the various pest animal and plant species present in your area. Under the Act, and as part of your general biosecurity obligation, you must take specific actions to limit the spread and impact of these pests, known as restricted matter, by reducing, controlling or containing them. You must not share, sell, trade or release restricted matter into the environment unless you are authorised to do so in a regulation or under a permit.

There are also new reporting requirements and restrictions on the movement of some restricted matter contained in newly introduced biosecurity zones. These zones can be specific to the type of restricted matter being managed, for example red imported fire ant biosecurity zones and horticultural biosecurity zones.

To find out more about your responsibilities visit or call 13 25 23.