Queenslanders are able to have their say on the new way forward for biodiscovery in our state, which involves collecting biological material to help create new drugs.
The Palaszczuk Government has today released an Options Paper for public consultation to help find the best way forward in reforming the Biodiscovery Act 2004.
Earlier this year, Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch announced the Government was looking to reform the Biodiscovery Act to bring it in line with international moves to ensure the benefits of biodiscovery were shared equally with First Nations peoples.
“We released a comprehensive review of our Biodiscovery laws which, for the first time, includes recognition of traditional knowledge,” Ms Enoch said.
“Our Government’s review has found that there is room for stronger alignment, particularly around the rights of First Nations peoples regarding the use of their resources and traditional knowledge for biodiscovery.
“The release of the Options Paper is giving First Nations peoples, scientists, farmers and other Queenslanders, the chance to provide feedback on the most effective way going forward.”
Biodiscovery involves collecting samples of native biological materials, such as plants, marine sponges and microorganisms, to test for chemical compounds that may have commercial applications, such as pharmaceuticals, insecticides, cosmetics, and even food supplements.
“Queensland was the first jurisdiction to introduce best-practice biodiscovery legislation in 2004, which was important to attracting research to the state,” Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch said there was potential within Queensland’s biologically diverse nature to help contribute to new medicines, cures for deadly diseases, environmentally friendly plastics, and other products.
“This consultation will help Government strike the right balance in the biodiscovery framework between allowing research to be undertaken while ensuring local communities get the benefits they deserve if scientists find new products based on resources sourced from their land, or using their traditional knowledge.”
Queenslanders are also able to have their say on whether biodiscovery laws should be expanded to apply to private land, like freehold land.
Ms Enoch said it was important to get the process right.
“That is why consultation is so important – we want to get feedback from key stakeholders to work out the best approach for Queensland,” she said.
“I encourage our First Nations communities, scientists, landholders and Queenslanders to look at these options for reform.”
The Pathways to reform: Biodiscovery Act 2004 – Options Paper is available online at www.qld.gov.au/BiodiscoveryActReform
Consultation closes February 1, 2019.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch