Utility Services Provider - General Biosecurity Duty
Working for a utility provider, such as water, hydro-electrics or telecommunications, in Tasmania (either directly or as a sub-contractor), means that you have an important role to play in helping to protect your customers, the broader industry and the state from the harmful impacts of pests, weeds and diseases.
Listed below are some biosecurity actions you can take to meet your General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) and to help keep the properties you work on - and Tasmania - biosecurity safe.
Develop a Biosecurity Plan
Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan for your business is a key step that you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of pests, weeds and disease on the properties you work on. They are also a good way to educate staff on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the Farm Biosecurity website is a great starting point.
Important Biosecurity Actions
If you SEE something during a visit to a site or property that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or diseases, or invasive animal species;
SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then
REPORT it to the property owner or manager and Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible.
Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.
The Charter for Working on Private Farmland has been developed by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Aurora Energy, TasNetworks, TasWater and Tasmanian Irrigation to make sure that each person understands their rights and responsibilities when these businesses are required to access and work on private farms.
Actions to take when accessing and working on private farms:
Before arrival at a property – contact the landowner or manager and determine whether there are any specific biosecurity protocols which you will need to follow.
Ensure that your clothes, vehicles and equipment are clean on arrival and free of soil and plant material (such as weed seeds).
Upon arrival – obey any biosecurity signage information and sign the visitor register if there is one in use.
Use designated laneways and tracks where possible, avoid travelling across agricultural production areas and ensure clothes, vehicles and equipment are clean prior to going off track into paddocks, bushland or similar, or consider travelling in the land owners vehicle rather than your own..
Leave farm gates as you found them (i.e. open or closed), unless otherwise instructed by the property owner or manager, or signage. Report any damage to fences to the property owner/manager to prevent the escape or entry of livestock or other animals.
Ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemicals are used as per label, or applicable off-label permit (i.e. appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health, plant health and the environment). Visit the website for information on AgVet chemical use in Tasmania.
When you leave the property – make sure your vehicle and equipment are cleaned (if on-site facilities are available) or at a minimum ensure you clean down your vehicle and equipment before entering the next property. Carrying a basic, personal biosecurity kit is a good way of decontaminating vehicles, clothing and equipment. Recommended contents and instructions on putting a kit together can be found at the Farm Biosecurity website.
Importing items into Tasmania
If you are importing equipment or machinery, you need to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that they are cleaned and free of all soil, seeds and plant matter prior to arriving in Tasmania, as per Import Requirement 39 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania. Some machinery may have to meet additional import requirements.
Contact and reporting
Contact Biosecurity Tasmania for general information or to report a suspected pest, weed or disease:
Phone: (03) 6165 3777
Alternatively, for reporting pests, weeds or diseases, you can call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881) or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 858).
Stay up to date on biosecurity in Tasmania
Subscribing to get Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity
Follow Biosecurity Tasmania on Facebook.
Please note that this information contains minimum recommendations only. The GBD requires a person dealing with biosecurity matter or a carrier to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk associated with the dealing. Such measures may not be specified in any regulations, guidelines or other official publications.