Producers fired up over Biosecurity Queensland move

The Hermitage Research Centre in 1997.
The Hermitage Research Centre in 1997.

WOEFUL, blatant cost cutting and another "kick in the guts for agriculture" is how Southern Downs primary producers are describing a state government decision to move the region's Biosecurity Queensland staff out of Warwick.

Minister for Agriculture, John McVeigh confirmed Biosecurity Queensland staff would be shifted from the current DAFF offices in Fitzroy St to Hermitage Research Station.

The government's capacity to guard the state's biosecurity is fundamental to the safety of the agricultural sector.

"The decision to move all four Biosecurity Queensland staff from the Warwick office to the Hermitage Research Station has been made in order to consolidate the local Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry presence at a single site and to provide greater efficiencies," Mr McVeigh said.

"Relocating staff to Hermitage Research Station will not reduce the level of service these officers will provide to the Warwick area.

Four Biosecurity Queensland staff remain in Warwick: Two inspectors, an administration officer and a project officer who works off-site.

But local landholders like Andrew O'Dea, from Elbow Valley, reacted angrily believing the decision would only make vital agricultural services less accessible.

"It's a woeful decision. Sounds like blatant cost cutting. Biosecurity staff need to be front and centre and not hidden away out of sight, out of mind," Mr O'Dea said.

But AgForce chief executive officer Charles Burke said

DAFF's ability to delivery biosecurity outcomes was more important than location.

"The government's capacity to guard the state's biosecurity is fundamental to the safety of the agricultural sector," Mr Burke said.

"While we acknowledge the moving of staff to the Hermitage facility will be a logistical change, our focus is on the delivery of outcomes than location."

AgForce's stand was in contrast to a vocal landholder (name withheld), who described the move as "another in a long and ever increasing line of bad, apparently arbitrary choices made by Biosecurity Queensland".

"It is about time the Minister pulled these bureaucrats into line," he said.

"If this decision goes ahead, people can rightly ask 'what happened to agriculture as one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy, as loudly broadcast at the election'.

"To my mind, these so-called efficiencies are an attempt to get around rightful community anger and to justify the unjustifiable."

Another producer said shifting the Biosecurity Queensland team out of the city was "beginning of the end" and another "kick in the guts for agriculture".

Meanwhile Yangan cattleman John Brandon described the move as "concerning".

"If people stop going to see stock inspectors, then don't follow regulations, it could have serious implications for our industry," he said.

Another Warwick cattlewoman (name also withheld) also felt the move would make stock inspectors and other services less accessible.

"They will be less accessible for us as the Hermitage is out of town, where all facilities are that producers would be doing business with when they visit town," she said.

"When we come to town we have limited time and would not have time to drive out to the Hermitage. I know it is the same with most cattle producers.

"This will result in a reduced workload for the officers, which will lead government to say these officers are not needed and we will lose another important service for agriculture."

But Mr McVeigh has sought to reassure locals his department is supportive of agriculture.

Reminding producers his government had already responded to local calls for additional DAFF support.

"Last October we appointed Clynton Spencer, who will take up the senior wild dog officer position at Applethorpe, which will service the Southern Downs region and work collectively with the other wild dog officers appointed by the LNP government across the state," he said.

Topics:  agripolitics biosecurity queensland john mcveigh

Jury sworn in for Warwick indecent treatment trial

The alleged offences took place on a day in 2015.

The trial is expected to last a day.

Alleged Warwick arsonist set to face judge

A house fire overnight in Warwick is being treated as suspicious

A MAN accused of burning down his Dragon St home will be sentenced.

10 ways to tell it's rodeo week

Kids in cowboy's rodeo week.

IT'S rodeo week in Warwick and we love it.

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Former Warwick State High student is second

Victorian rider and former Warwick High student Lee Kimber (right) goes for his beast at the Warwick Rodeo.

Former Warwick High student to compete in national finals

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.