Restricted matter is biosecurity matter found in Queensland and has a significant impact on human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment. Restricted matter can include:
- Diseases, viruses or parasites,
- Invasive animals or plants (e.g. pest animals or weeds),
- Noxious fish, and
- Insect pests.
Specific actions are required to limit the spread and impact of this matter by reducing, controlling or containing it.
There are 7 categories or restricted matter. Category 1 and 2 restricted matter must be reported.
Category 1 restricted matter must be reported to an inspector within 24 hours.
Category 2 restricted matter must be reported to an inspector or authorised person within 24 hours.
Contact an inspector or authorised person by calling Biosecurity Queensland on 132523.
Restricted matter is listed in Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2014.
Identifying restricted matter
You are not expected to know about all types of restricted matter, however you are expected to know about the restricted matter that you could potentially come across as part of your business or hobby.
For example, if you are a grazier you would be expected to know about serious diseases of livestock such as anthrax or Johne's disease, and the weeds and feral animals present in your area.
If you are an aquaculturist you would be expected to know about noxious fish and water weeds that are not to be released into rivers or creeks.
If your hobby was bee keeping you would be expected to know about serious pests and diseases affecting bees.
Categories of restricted matter
There are seven categories for restricted matter. Each category places restrictions on the dealings with the biosecurity matter or requires actions to be taken to minimise the spread and adverse impact of the biosecurity matter.
Category 1 and 2
Category 1 and 2 restricted matter have specific urgent reporting requirements. You must report restricted matter from these categories if it is present in, or on, something in your possession or under your control or at a place where you are the occupier, unless an appropriately authorised officer has already been advised or you possess a permit for the restricted matter.
You must not take any action likely to exacerbate the biosecurity risk. You must take action likely to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by the category 1 or category 2 restricted matter.
Category 1 includes red imported fire ants, electric ants, Asian honey bees, and certain animal diseases, aquatic diseases and pathogens.
Biosecurity Queensland needs to be made aware of this restricted matter to take action to contain and eradicate it. You must report category 1 restricted matter to a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries inspector within 24 hours of becoming aware of its presence.
Category 2 restricted matter includes certain noxious fish, weeds and pest animals such as spotted gar and red-eared slider turtle.
Biosecurity Queensland needs to be aware of this restricted matter to commence appropriate actions to reduce, control or contain the biosecurity matter. This restricted matter must be reported to an inspector or authorised person within 24 hours of you becoming aware of its presence.
Categories 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7
These categories relate to restricted matter that is in a person's possession, under their control and is also about not feeding restricted matter.
Category 3 includes weeds, pest animals and noxious fish (e.g. gambusia, dingoes, yellow crazy ants).
You must not distribute this restricted matter. This means it must not be given as a gift, sold, traded or released into the environment unless the distribution or disposal is authorised in a regulation or under a permit. Deliberate human distribution or disposal contrary to the legislation is a key source of spread into other areas of the state.
Category 4 includes specific weeds, pest animals and noxious fish such as the bitou bush, feral pig or giant cichlid.
You must not move this restricted matter to ensure that it does not spread into other areas of the state.
Category 5 includes weeds, pest animals and noxious fish such as Mexican feather grass, rabbits and carp.
You must not possess or keep this restricted matter under your control. These pests have a high risk of negatively impacting on the environment. You may only keep this restricted matter under a permit of the Biosecurity Act 2014 or another Act.
Category 6 includes invasive animals such as feral deer, foxes, rabbits and wild dogs and noxious fish such as carp, gambusia and tilapia.
You must not feed this category of restricted matter. Feeding this restricted matter may cause their numbers to increase and negatively impact the economy or the environment. Feeding for the purpose of preparing for or undertaking a control program is exempted.
Category 7 includes noxious fish such as carp, weatherloach, climbing perch, gambusia and tilapia.
If you have these noxious fish in your possession you must kill the restricted matter and dispose of the carcass by burying the who carcass (no parts removed) in the ground above the high tide water mark or placing it in a waste disposal receptacle.
Multiple categories may apply to restricted matter
Several restriction categories apply to some restricted matter. In such cases, you would need to follow the requirements of all restriction categories for these restricted matter listings.
For example, the Biosecurity Act 2014 lists rabbits as category 3, 4, 5 and 6 restricted matter. This means that rabbits must not be:
- Sold or traded,
- Moved within Queensland,
- Kept by a person or in their control,
- Fed (except during baiting programs), and
- Must not be released into the environment or disposed of other than in the way prescribed under a regulation.
You may apply to keep a rabbit for scientific research, commercial use or biological control purposes. Other legislation regulating the exhibited animal industry allows rabbits to be kept under permit for exhibition purposes (e.g. for use in magic acts and by zoos).
Restricted matter permit
You must comply with the category requirements for the restricted matter unless otherwise authorised by a regulation or a permit. You may also have a general biosecurity obligation and need to take actions that minimise other risks posed by your dealing with the restricted matter. If you need to deal with restricted matter for a particular purpose, you may apply for a ‘restricted matter permit’.
A person or business may apply for a restricted matter permit for purposes such as commercial use, biological control or scientific research.
The permit will allow the dealings, under specific conditions that would otherwise be restricted by the category requirements. Your general biosecurity obligation however, will still apply.
To apply for a restricted matter permit you are required to submit a ‘permit plan’. The permit plan describes how you propose to deal with the restricted matter. This includes
- Identifying the potential biosecurity risks,
- Describing how the risks will be minimised, and
- Providing confirmation documents (e.g. documents confirming that the dealings will be conducted in an approved, certified or registered facility.
Note: Forms can be found on the Queensland Government – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.