Stacy Harris, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Biosecurity Queensland, Invasive Plants and animals

Stacy Harris began her career at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 18 years ago after completing a Bachelor of Applied Science with a Horticulture major at the University of Queensland. Stacy somehow always knew she would end up working with weeds and was fortunate enough to become a Biosecurity Officer in 2012. Being a biosecurity officer you need to be agile and responsive, supported by equipment, procedures and training allowing us to quickly transition through terrestrial, marine, aviation and information environments to enable the effective management of an unlimited range of new threats.  This work is critical in protecting Queensland’s agricultural industries and environment into the future.


Biosecurity Queensland conducts post-border incursion response to biological threats in Queensland.  The Invasive Plants and Animals (IP&A) South-East Region Operations Team mission is to prevent the establishment of new invasive species in South East Queensland in order to protect Queensland’s human health, social amenity, economy and environment.

There are a number of eradication projects that operate within and in close proximity to the Pumicestone catchment area:

  • Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp rotundata), a native of South Africa was introduced as a dune stabiliser and is ideally suited to habitats along Queensland’s southern to mid coast. This project commenced in the mid 1980’s and surveillance is conducted from the NSW border to Southern Fraser Island. Uncontrolled spread of bitou bush would lead to serious environmental impacts as well as cultural, social and economic costs. 

  • Red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) are an exotic fresh water turtle native to the USA. A small naturalised population has been detected in the Moreton Bay Region. REST have been distributed widely via the illegal pet trade. Feral populations have now been established on every continent except Antarctica. REST are listed as one of the top 100 invasive species internationally!

  • Mexican bean tree (Cecropia peltata) is found throughout tropical America. It is a rapidly growing tree that has the potential to invade and dominate tropical and subtropical rainforests. Because of its attractive foliage it has been subject to sale and distribution by garden enthusiasts.  A total of six trees were detected during the 2019-20 financial year. Mexican bean tree can form naturalised populations in SEQ if left unchecked.

  • Cacti compliance project. Biosecurity Queensland manage a cactus compliance project aimed at managing the illegal online trade of regulated cacti in South East Queensland. All species of Opuntia, Cylindropuntia and Austrocylindropuntia cactus pose serious long-term risks to Australia’s arid and semi-arid rangelands, with the potential to duplicate the impact of the infamous prickly pear cactus.

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