20 November 2020 / Legislation Alert

Updated Biosecurity Requirements for Fire Ants

Changes to Queensland’s Biosecurity Regulation 2016 for fire ants came into effect on Wednesday, 27 May 2020.

These changes provide extra protection to areas that have undergone the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program's eradication activities, and reduce the chance of the pest spreading by the movement of infested material such as soil, gravel, mulch and hay.

The key changes are:

1.   2 fire ant biosecurity zones instead of 3 (zones include new suburb areas where fire ants have been found previously)

2.   new soil movement guideline clarifies how you can meet your general biosecurity obligation (GBO) when working with soil updated risk mitigation strategies to guide you when working with material that may carry fire ants (may reduce the need to apply for a biosecurity instrument permit).

Soil & Transport in Biosecurity Zones

Soil from fire ant biosecurity zones is considered high risk for the spread of fire ants.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread fire ants.

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 prescribes procedures that you must follow when moving soil from a fire ant biosecurity zone. There are 2 fire ant biosecurity zones in Queensland. Refer to the fire ant biosecurity zone maps to see the boundaries of these zones or the Queensland Government’s interactive map to check if you're in a fire ant biosecurity zone.

Moving soil

To move soil from either of the fire ant biosecurity zones to a place outside the zones, you must request a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP) online or phone 13 25 23.

Refer to the table below for restrictions on the movement of soil between and outside of the fire ant biosecurity zones.

Biosecurity zone 1

Biosecurity zone 2

Soil originating from a place in zone 1 can be moved to a place in zone 1 or zone 2 without a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP).

Soil can be moved from its original place in zone 1 directly to a waste facility within either zone 1 or zone 2 without a BIP.

Soil originating from a place in zone 2 can be moved within zone 2 without a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP).

You need to obtain a BIP before moving the soil to a place within zone 1.

Soil can be moved from its original place in zone 2 directly to a waste facility in zone 2. You'll need a BIP to move the soil to a waste facility within zone 1.

Download Permit

Managing soil

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 and the Soil movement guideline outlines how soil should be managed in fire ant biosecurity zones.

If you are moving soil within the fire ant biosecurity zones, you should do 1 or more of the following:

  1. treat soil before excavation
  2. take soil from depth
  3. disturb soil during or after excavation
  4. store soil appropriately.

Treating soil before excavation

Business operators should engage a licensed pest manager 2 weeks before the anticipated excavation date to:

  1. inspect the area to be excavated. If fire ants are found, report them
  2. undertake direct nest injection (DNI) of any fire ant nests
  3. treat the site with an appropriate bait in order to prevent fire ants becoming established in the area to be excavated.

At a residential property, you can pre-treat an area that is to be excavated using a household pesticide that is available in a retail store. The products used should be recognised by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as an appropriate product for treating fire ants.

Use insecticides in accordance with the conditions of the APVMA permit, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and in conjunction with the product's label. You can search for permits on the APVMA website.

Taking soil from depth

A newly established, or young, fire ant colony is often located in the first metre of soil. You could reduce ant activity and the risk of ant movement to another location by taking the following steps.

  1. Remove the top metre of soil.
  2. Do the necessary excavation.
  3. Replace the original top metre of soil.

Do not mix the top metre of soil with the soil being moved from the site. Keep the top metre on site, or take it to a waste facility within the fire ant biosecurity zones (restrictions apply, see table above).

This method is not recommended for areas where the soil type is soft, loamy or sandy, as fire ant nests can extend further than 1 metre below the surface in areas in these soil types.

Disturbing the soil during or after excavation

Soil that is to be taken off-site should be disturbed before it is moved to another location. Disturbing soil means undertaking 1 or a combination of the following activities:

  1. vigorously turning
  2. crushing
  3. washing
  4. screening a soil stockpile.

Storage of soil

If the soil will be stored on the property for more than 24 hours, you should use 1 of the following storage options:

  1. off-ground and covered (e.g. in a shed, under a shade cloth or tarpaulin); or
  2. on-ground, and covered, on 1 of the following surfaces:
    1. concrete or bitumen (no cracks)
    2. a barrier that cannot be penetrated by fire ants (e.g. 200 micron unperforated plastic sheeting)
    3. compacted ground (other than sand) that has been treated with an appropriate chemical product before storage.

Apply a 30cm-wide strip of insecticide containing 80g/L bifenthrin, around the perimeter of the on-ground storage area. If soil is stored on compacted ground, you should also treat the whole surface area.

Keep the treated area free of material that could form an untreated bridge to the soil.

For an insecticide registered as a horizontal or perimeter barrier for fire ants, refer to Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permit PER14317 (expires 31 December 2021).

Stockpiles of soil should be disturbed:

  1. every 21 days; and
  2. 24 hours prior to moving the material to another location


Applying for a permit

You can request a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP) online or by phoning the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program on 13 25 23.

Each BIP application is assessed on its own merits and can be refused if the movement poses an unacceptable risk of spreading fire ants.

Apply now

Keeping a record

You should keep a written record of the steps you take to ensure the soil is inspected, stored and moved correctly, including chemical treatments and / or disturbance activities. This may include:

1.   dated, written records of the measures you've taken to reduce risk and the details of where the soil has been taken from or to

2.   photographs, site plans and surveyor's records

3.   receipts and records of treatment applied by a licensed pest manager.

Keep these records for a minimum of 2 years.

Program inspectors, who conduct random compliance checks to ensure businesses and individuals are complying with fire ant movement controls, will request these records.

Penalties for not complying with movement controls apply under the Act and other relevant legislation.

More information

If you need additional support, please contact: 

Tivian Trinh
Phone 0427 246 134
Email tivian.trinh@hutchies.com.au

Other Recent Activities

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17 January / New

Hutchies' meetings and key dates calendar for the year ahead is now available in Outlook and printable PDF.

Add Outlook Calendar

> Open Outlook

> Click 'calendar icon' in bottom left corner

> Click ‘Add Calendar’ button in top ribbon

> Select ‘Open Shared Calendar

> Type in ‘Hutchies Company Calendar’

> It will open and save in Shared Calendars

Watch Video

Downloadable PDF

We also maintain a printable A3 PDF of Hutchies' key meetings calendar. You can download, print and have this version in hard copy. Please note that sometimes dates do change, so be sure to regularly check that you have the latest copy.

Download PDF

Updates

Hutchies' Outlook calendar enables real-time updating of events in a format everyone is familiar with. We specifically only include events in this calendar that are relevant to all of Hutchies nationally to avoid overloading it with irrelevant information.

Annual updates are made for the year ahead roughly in October / November for:

> Company meetings (budgets, board meetings etc) by Natalie Roma to assist the regions in their local calendar planning

> Payment cutoff dates for middle and end of month runs by AP

> Public holidays / social events / observations by the Comms Team If there is an event applicable to all of Hutchies that you think should be included in the company calendar, please let us know.

Other Formats

Previously we published some key dates on Toolbox and through the Meetings for the Year PDF (published on the Doc Library).

Toolbox continues to be used to publish key updates through our Activities area, while the Meetings for the Year is a summary of the key meetings proposed for the years (ie doesn't have as much detail as our Outlook version).

Hutchies’ Toolbox Activities will remain your central go to point for all key company announcements / alerts.



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10 January / COVID-19

Government advice at all levels is changing rapidly. Hutchies will continue to communicate the latest relevant requirements to you as soon as information becomes available. 

Hutchies' teams working in Queensland must read the below, implement the changes and circulate the latest Industry Update with all Workers / Subcontractors / Suppliers as a priority. This enables everyone to be on the same page with how positive cases and close contacts are being managed on construction sites in Queensland.

Other states and territories have slightly different requirements but with the same principles, and these are being communicated separately to those relevant teams.

The processes outlined in this email are based on the latest advice as adopted by the Queensland Construction Industry Working Group and following direct advice and support from Queensland Health. The Industry Plan will continue to be updated as Government Directions are updated and guidance materials are released.

As cases continue to escalate throughout Queensland, it is important to remember that anyone you interact with could have COVID-19 and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

Key changes

> Version 2 of the Industry Process for Managing Positive Cases
> Reporting all cases to Hutchies' Coronavirus Team
> Managing Positive Cases & Notification Templates
> Circulating the Industry Update to Workers / Subbies / Suppliers

What's in this update

> Latest Industry Update (Managing Positive Cases & Contacts)
> Reporting & managing cases
> Time and cost clauses in contracts (for COVID-19)

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9 January / COVID-19

Government advice at all levels is changing rapidly. Hutchies will continue to communicate the latest relevant requirements to you as soon as information becomes available.

Hutchies' teams working in New South Wales must read the below, implement the changes and circulate the latest Industry Update with all Workers / Subcontractors / Suppliers as a priority. This enables everyone to be on the same page with how positive cases and close contacts are being managed on construction sites in New South Wales.

Other states and territories have slightly different requirements but with the same principles, and these are being communicated separately to those relevant teams.

The processes outlined in this email are based on updated advice since our email on Friday as adopted by the NSW Construction Industry Working Group and following direct advice and support from the NSW Government.

As cases continue to escalate throughout New South Wales, it is important to remember that anyone you interact with could have COVID-19 and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

Key changes

> Version 2 of the Industry Process for Managing Positive Cases
> Reporting all cases to Hutchies' Coronavirus Team
> Managing Positive Cases & Notification Templates
> Circulating the Industry Update to Workers / Subbies / Suppliers

What's in this update

> Latest Industry Update (Managing Positive Cases & Contacts)
> Reporting & managing cases
> Time and cost clauses in contracts (for COVID-19)

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7 - 9 January / COVID-19

National Cabinet has agreed to a unified approach to managing contacts of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. This includes a new definition for close contacts. It currently applies to NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS, SA, ACT and will eventually be adopted by WA and NT.

The changes simplify the circumstances when a person is classified as a ‘close contact’. They also minimise the need for isolation and testing for anyone else potentially exposed to COVID-19 – that is those contacts that have been previously referred to as casual contacts. This update summarises the new requirements and how they will be applied in the construction industry in New South Wales.

The Update below has been developed by an Industry Working Group that includes the CFMEU, PTEU, ETU, MBA and a large number of principal contractors in NSW. It has also been provided to NSW Health and WorkSafe.

This advice is effective immediately and will be implemented across the New South Wales Construction Industry from 7 January 2022 (today). 

Hutchies' teams delivering projects in New South Wales must download and read this latest industry advice and be ready to implement it when managing positive cases on any of our construction sites or in our offices.

A further update will be distributed shortly concerning other states however given the national approach to close and casual contacts, the general principles will be consistent.

Contact the Coronavirus Team if you have any questions or need more information about the current status of COVID-19 in New South Wales.

This important update includes the latest advice for construction on:

> New Definitions & Requirements

Changes for confirmed positive cases and new definitions of close contacts

> Managing a Positive Case

Step by step process for construction sites or offices to manage positive cases

> Contact Tracing

Ensuring Workers continue to check in so they can be promptly notified of a positive case

> Masks

Requirements for mask wearing in Queensland

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7 January / Notice

PBAs are changing and expanding to cover eligible private sector projects in Queensland.

The Queensland Government introduced a trial of Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) in 2018 as part of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 legislation. Initially they applied only to State Government funded projects valued between $1M and $10M.

The system is designed to hold funds in trust for head contractors and subcontractors until payments are due, as part of a building project. The PTA's structure and strict rules help subcontractors get paid regularly in a timely manner and protect their retention and disputed monies.

Following trials of PBAs, Queensland has now expanded the concept through Project Trust Accounts (PTAs) which applies to private sector, local government, statutory authorities' and government-owned corporations' building and construction contracts valued over $10M.

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4 - 10 January / COVID-19

National Cabinet has agreed to a unified approach to managing contacts of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. This includes a new definition for close contacts. It currently applies to QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, ACT and will eventually be adopted by WA and NT.

The changes simplify the circumstances when a person is classified as a ‘close contact’. They also minimise the need for isolation and testing for anyone else potentially exposed to COVID-19 – that is those contacts that have been previously referred to as casual contacts. This update summarises the new requirements and how they will be applied in the construction industry in Queensland.

The changes are effective immediately and will be implemented across the Queensland Construction Industry from 4 January 2022 (today). They supersede the previous Industry Plan (13/12/2021) which will be updated in due course. 

Hutchies' teams delivering projects in Queensland must download and read this latest industry advice and be ready to implement it when managing positive cases on any of our construction sites or in our offices.

A further update will be distributed shortly concerning other states however given the national approach to close and casual contacts, the general principles will be consistent.

Contact the Coronavirus Team if you have any questions or need more information about the current status of COVID-19 in Queensland.

This important update includes the latest advice for construction on:

> New Definitions & Requirements

Changes for confirmed positive cases and new definitions of close contacts

> Managing a Positive Case

Step by step process for construction sites or offices to manage positive cases

> Contact Tracing

Ensuring Workers continue to check in so they can be promptly notified of a positive case

> Masks

Requirements for mask wearing in Queensland

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17 December 2021 / General

Congratulations all of our Hutchies' veterans and to the winner of Constructor of the Year 2021!

Watch the video below to find out the winner and see all of our service awards for the year. 

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16 December 2021 / Notice

These events, which range from cyclones, rain, hail, flooding, high winds and bushfires have the potential to cause damage to Hutchies' project sites, and adjacent properties and assets.

Since the beginning of Summer 2021 our sites have already braved significant wet weather, and the forecast predicts a lot more to come.

To ensure we're prepared for these weather events and to keep our sites safe and secure, we need to fully implement Hutchies' shutdown and storm preparation processes prior to the holiday break.

This includes checking that the sediment and erosion controls are in place and effective for any projects where we have open ground and soil stockpiles that could potentially cause impact to the environment.

Hutchies' shutdown checklist is on HammerTech > Inspections:
HB-HSEQ-F-084 Site Shutdown Storm Preparation Checklist

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13 - 31 December 2021 / COVID-19

As mentioned last week, Hutchies has been part of a working group with other major builders and the building unions to prepare for the likely spread of COVID-19 following the easing of border restrictions. The result has been the production of the Queensland Construction & Related Industries COVID Safe Plan which aims to provide a consistent, practical and proactive approach to the arrival of COVID-19 on construction sites.

The Industry Plan has been developed in consultation and with the support of Queensland Health to provide clarity for sites regarding issues such as cleaning requirements, contact training protocols and what to do in the event of a positive case. The Plan's general intention is to ensure that people are kept safe whilst adhering to Public Health Directions, preventing people being placed in home isolation unnecessarily and maintaining productivity.

The Industry Plan has now been launched and is ready for implementation. Read on for more information. 

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