Prohibited matter is biosecurity matter that is not found in Queensland but would have a significant adverse impact on our health, way of life, the economy or the environment if it entered the state. Prohibited matter can be:
- Diseases, viruses or parasites,
- Invasive animals and plants (e.g. pest animal or weed),
- Exotic marine animals, plants or diseases,
- Noxious fish, and
- Insect pests.
The Biosecurity Act 2014 lists prohibited matter in Schedule 1 of the Act.
Identifying prohibited matter
It is the responsibility of all Queenslanders, as well as visitors from interstate and overseas, to be aware and take steps to prevent prohibited matter from entering our state. You will be expected to know about prohibited matter that you may come across in your environment, or as part of your business or hobby.
- Producers should be aware of, and a vet is expected to know, symptoms of exotic diseases such as bluetongue, foot-and-mouth disease or highly pathogenic avian influenza,
- People bringing fruit and vegetables into the state will need to ensure they don't introduce carriers of prohibited matter, and
- A citrus farmer will be expected to know about citrus canker.
Reporting prohibited matter
If you become aware of prohibited matter or you believe, or ought to reasonably believe, that something is prohibited matter, you need to:
- Report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 within 24 hours, unless you are aware that it has already been reported, and
- Take all reasonable steps to minimise the risks of the prohibited matter and not make the situation worse.
If you are unsure if it is prohibited matter, contact Biosecurity Queensland for more information.
Example of reporting prohibited matter
If you have livestock that you know or ought to know are showing signs of an exotic disease such as foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza or nipah virus, or that you consider may be an exotic disease or pest, you must:
- Isolate them from other livestock on your property to reduce the risk of making it worse,
- Report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23, and
- Not move any animals off your property to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
Once notified of potential prohibited matter, Biosecurity Queensland will take steps to confirm the nature of the issue. If it is prohibited matter Biosecurity Queensland will decide the most appropriate action to take based on the risks posed by the disease and its likely impact on the economy, environment, human health and public amenity.
Prohibited matter permits
It is an offence to deal with prohibited matter unless you have a permit. If you need to deal with prohibited matter or a potential carrier, you can apply for the following types of ‘prohibited matter permits’:
- A scientific research (prohibited matter) permit,
- A controlled dealings (prohibited matter) permit, and
- Another type of prohibited matter permit prescribed under regulation.
For example, a farmer may apply for a ‘controlled dealings permit’, if their crop requires harvesting and their farm has a pest weed present that is prohibited matter.
You will need a ‘permit plan’ to apply for a ‘prohibited matter permit’. The plan must:
- Propose how you will deal with the prohibited matter,
- Identify any potential risks to animal or plant life, the economy, the environment and the community, and
- Describe how you will minimise the risks.
Note: Forms can be found on the Queensland Government – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.