A Queensland transport company has been fined $25,000 and a truck driver $5,000 for failing to comply with their general biosecurity obligation.
This is the first prosecution under the Biosecurity Act 2014 for a failure to comply with the general biosecurity obligation.
The prosecution arose after the company moved cattle from the cattle tick infested zone through the cattle tick free zone, without undertaking reasonable actions to prevent a cattle tick infestation in the free zone.
In handing down her sentence, the Magistrate considered that the company had taken action to remedy the situation with the affected landholders,including the payment of $16,000 towards the eradication costs.
Magistrate Mossop said it was really self-evident that the cattle should not have been moved from the infested zone into the free zone.
“Alternatively, the cattle should have been treated and been the subject of a clean inspection before such a journey. Regardless of who was obligated to attend to such treatment, protocols and procedures should have been in place for dealing with tick-infested stock,” the Magistrate said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said this should serve as a reminder that anybody moving cattle needs to have appropriate biosecurity risk management strategies in place.
“In this case, the cattle were visibly infested with cattle ticks and were not treated before being moved through the cattle tick free zone,” Mr Furner said.
“During an unscheduled stop in the cattle tick free zone to check on the cattle, several escaped from the truck.
“This led to a cattle tick infestation on two nearby properties inside the cattle tick free zone. As a result two properties were placed under movement restrictions and had to undertake a cattle tickeradication program.”
The Minister said the truck driver involved was also was fined $5,000 for failing to comply with their general biosecurity obligation.
“Everybody must take reasonable and practical actions to manage biosecurity risks that are under their control and that they know about, or should reasonably be expected to know about,” he said.
“If livestock are moved from the cattle tick infested zone through the cattle tick free zone and back into the infested zone, producers and transport operators must comply with the general biosecurity obligation and also any specific regulations that apply.
“In this case, transporting obviously infested cattle on this particular route without treatment meant that when they escaped there was no way of reducing the risk they posed.
“Some of the actions that could have been implemented include travelling a different route, or treating the cattle before leaving and waiting until they were tick free.
“It’s a perfect demonstration of what can go wrong when somebody does not make a reasonable effort to manage an obvious biosecurity risk.”