The aim of prioritising exotic plant pests is to enable a more strategic approach to plant biosecurity activities within finite resources. This prioritisation process should be transparent, inclusive and systematic. Many lists of priority plant pests have been developed over recent times, for Queensland, for Australia, and for other parts of the world. Both the purpose of these lists and the methodologies used to create them have varied. Some of these ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ will be discussed and compared.
For Queensland a qualitative framework incorporating extensive stakeholder engagement was selected as best for achieving the goals. These goals were: enhancing preparedness; improving risk management strategies; improving industry and community engagement; interacting with legislation; facilitating education and awareness; and determining priorities for investment in research, development and extension. Factors considered included the likelihood of pest entry and establishment, the potential impact of the pest (social, environment and economic), and the ability for the pest to be eradicated or managed.
A stakeholder engagement plan was developed outlining preparation, implementation and review steps. This includes defining what will be delivered to each stakeholder group, who will be involved, the level of engagement for each part of the process, and potential risks. It also included retrospective evaluation of the process and articulation of what feedback stakeholders can expect and when.
The priority plant pest list for Queensland will be a relevant dynamic list. It will deliver value to stakeholders by focussing biosecurity resources, from both within and outside government, where they can best contribute to protect market access and the profitability and sustainability of Queensland’s industries, and safeguard natural assets, human health and lifestyle.