The Biosecurity Act 2014 replaced the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 on 1 July 2016 for legislating the management of pest species in Queensland. Under the Act, all persons who deal with a biosecurity matter or carrier, if they know or ought reasonably to know that it poses a biosecurity risk, must take all reasonable or practical measures to minimise the risk.

Weeds and pests are no longer grouped as class 1, 2 and 3. Categories have replaced these and subsequently, for each category there is a different process of what you, the land holder, must do to meet your general biosecurity obligation.


Categories of restricted matter and your obligations

Restricted matter can include diseases, viruses, parasites, invasive animals or plants (eg. pest animals or weeds), noxious fish and insect pests. 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.

There may be several restriction categories that apply to particular biosecurity matter. For example you would need to follow the requirements of several restriction categories for rabbits. The Act lists rabbits as category 3, 4, 5, and 6 restricted matter. This means that rabbits must not be given, distributed, 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 including, for example, for use in magic acts and by zoos.

A full list of restricted matter and their associated categories can be found in Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Category 1 and 2

Category 1 includes:

  • red imported fire ants
  • electric ants
  • Asian honey bees
  • certain animal diseases, aquatic diseases and pathogens

Category 2 includes:

  • certain noxious fish, weeds and pest animals such as spotted gar and red-eared slider turtle

Your obligations

These two categories have specific urgent reporting requirements. Matter in category 1 must be reported to an inspector within 24 hours. Matter in category 2 must be reported to an inspector or authorised person within 24 hours. An inspector or authorised person can be contacted at Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

These categories must be reported if the restricted matter is in, or on a carrier, in your possession or under your control or at a place where you are the occupier and you are not aware that an appropriately authorised officer has been advised, or you don’t 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 3

This category includes: 

  • weeds
  • pest animals
  • noxious fish

Your obligations

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 is a key source of spread into other areas of the state.

Category 4

This category includes:

  • specific weeds such as siam weed
  • pest animals such as feral pigs

Your obligations

You must not move this restricted matter to ensure that it is not spread into other areas of the state.

Category 5

This category includes:

  • weeds such as hudson pear
  • pest animals such as rabbits
  • noxious fish such as carp

Your obligations

You must not possess or keep this restricted matter under your control as these pests have a high risk of negatively impacting on the environment. You may only keep this restricted matter under a permit of the Act or another Act.

Category 6

This category includes:

  • invasive animals such as feral deer, foxes, rabbits and wild dogs
  • noxious fish such as carp, gambusia and tilapia

Your obligations

You must not possess or keep this restricted matter under your control and must not feed this category of restricted matter as feeding 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

This category includes:

  • noxious fish such as carp, weatherloach, climbing perch, gambusia and tilapia

Your obligations

 If you have these noxious fish in your possession you must kill the restricted matter and dispose of the carcass in the authorised manner prescribed in regulation.


Related links

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries