Ambassadors named as new biosecurity strategy revealed

Published Tuesday, 14 May, 2024 at 12:43 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

  • State unveils five-year strategy for combating plant and animal pests and diseases 
  • Six Biosecurity Mates ambassadors to spread message of vigilance
  • Queensland’s 20 most unwanted pests targeted

The Queensland Government has unveiled the second five-year Queensland Biosecurity Strategy designed to protect the state from the potentially devastating costs of introduced pests and diseases.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner has also named six Biosecurity Mates Ambassadors from across Queensland to spread the message of vigilance in communities.

The strategy supports the efforts of government, industry and communities to manage and keep watch for biosecurity threats as part of a whole community effort to protect our economy, environment and our way of life.

Queensland’s proximity to neighbouring countries, extensive coastline, climate and the increased movement of property and people means our state is more susceptible to biosecurity threats.

A well-formed strategy that aligns with the National Biosecurity Strategy 2022-2032 will coordinate efforts to safeguard Queensland.

Six Biosecurity Mates ambassadors have been appointed to rally community support and help safeguard Queensland from unwanted plant and animal pests and disease. 

The Biosecurity Mates ambassadors are:

  • Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board CEO Craig Magnussen
  • Friends of Parks Queensland executive officer Jessica Lovegrove-Walsh
  • Researcher and PhD candidate in aquatic animal health Phoebe Arbon
  • Australian Agricultural Company animal health and welfare advisor Julia Harkin
  • Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated CEO Trevor Meldrum, and
  • Seed Savers Foundation director Jerry Coleby-Williams.

The ambassadors will drive community awareness of biosecurity targeting a number Queensland’s ‘most unwanted’ biosecurity threats and drawing community attention to how pests and diseases can be successfully identified, managed and where possible eradicated.

Those threats include imported pests such as varroa mites that can devastate European bee populations in their hives, plant diseases such as Panama TR4 disease that endanger banana crops or animal diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease or Lumpy Skin Disease.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries

“While Queensland’s biosecurity system is strong and continues to evolve, the complexity and frequency of biosecurity threats is growing,” Mr Furner said.

“To protect Queensland’s economy, environment and our way of life it is imperative we take a collaborative approach to biosecurity from across the community, industry and government.

“To help drive this coordinated and united approach, the Queensland Government has released Queensland’s Biosecurity Strategy 2024-2029.

“Raising the profile of biosecurity and encouraging all Queenslanders to help protect our state is a key component of the new strategy. Advocates such as our newly appointed ambassadors play a key role in helping to educate communities about biosecurity.

“I commend our six ambassadors who have put their hands up to advocate for a stronger biosecurity system to protect all that we love about our state including our prosperous industries, clean and green food and our outdoor lifestyle.

“While there are a multitude of biosecurity threats that could impact our state, Biosecurity Queensland does have a ‘hit list’ of ‘unwanted’ plant and animal pests and disease that we are preparing for.

“These include threats that are already on our shores such as varroa mite and banana freckle; to those that are in neighbouring countries such as lumpy skin disease in SE Asia and Avian influenza currently detected for the first time in Antarctica. 

“Plant and animal pests and diseases don’t respect borders, which is why our strategy highlights that biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility.”


Media contact – Martin Philip 0407 675 008


Media outlets can click here to download biographies and interview grabs from the Biosecurity ambassadors, images and details of some of Queensland’s ‘most unwanted’ biosecurity threats, and a copy of the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy 2024-2029.