Picture this scene, prawns sizzling on the barbecue with your friends and family whilst children laugh and play on the lawn in the backyard.
This idyllic scene could be anywhere in Queensland over the festive season whether you live in the city or in rural and regional areas.
As you place another shrimp on the barby your mate scoffs, “Gees the prawns look a bit worse for wear, are we really going to eat them.”
You look down at the opened bag and are confronted by prawns with a terrible sickly colour, covered in small white spots. You think what the? Your attention is broken by kids screaming from the back yard near the swings.
Worried parents run to investigate and find children covered in biting ants. The kids are crying from the painful multiple stings saying they feel like they are on fire.
The tranquil scene that existed just moments before is gone forever. No more fresh healthy Aussie prawns, no more picnics on the lawn and no more walking around the yard or parks in bare feet or thongs.
You may say this isn’t Queensland, it must be somewhere overseas. Well, the reality fellow Queenslanders is this is happening right now.
The impact from White Spot Disease and Fire ants is real and growing. In reality Fire ants will never be eradicated much less contained and White Spot Disease will continue to spread.
The scary thing is these are only 2 of a whole bunch of current biosecurity issues that the Queensland Government is failing to effectively address.
One of the major causes for this failure is the continued decline in operational resources from within the Queensland Government. Biosecurity Queensland (the lead agency for Biosecurity) has been in a constant state of resource decline for well over a decade.
Given the frequency of new biosecurity events combined with the current and historic approach to resourcing them we are seeing Biosecurity Queensland’s capacity being exceeded on many fronts.
Biosecurity Queensland was once a success story filled with passionate, committed and expert staff. However, we are now seeing the results of reduced resources and blatant opportunities to consolidate functions.
There are now critical gaps in Queensland’s Biosecurity System. This situation threatens all Queenslanders whether urban or rural.
We now see the risk of new diseases, pests and weeds coming into Queensland adding to the long list of biosecurity issues we already have to deal with.
Does this sound familiar? The Government cannot afford to manage national parks and other state land effectively (as we have seen with the recent wildfire debacles) let alone confront the expanding number of biosecurity issues that are already here or on our doorstep.
The Queensland Government will say they value our primary industries, our environment and lifestyle and they have all these new initiatives in place to help combat the growing biosecurity threats.
In reality as we can see from the number of new incursions and the spread of existing diseases, pest and weeds they are simply playing lip service and not walking the talk.