Stricter biosecurity controls to safeguard the Torres Strait region from invasive species are now in effect.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the Queensland Government has introduced new regulations to reduce the risk of pests and weeds moving from the mainland and between islands.
“The Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula area is a very special part of Queensland and we need to keep it that way,” Ms Lui said.
“An increase in the movement of people and freight in the Torres Strait, means an increased risk of invasive ants, toads, rats and weeds being introduced to island communities.
“These biosecurity threats can have a significant effect on agricultural productivity and trade, human and animal health and risk our environment and way of life.”
Ms Lui said invasive pests and weeds usually stowaway in cars, pot plants, soil or building materials.
“A Biosecurity Queensland prevention and control program will target high priority invasive species that are found in parts of Queensland, but have not spread to the Torres Strait region,” she said.
“In coming months, there will be random inspections of sea freight from Cairns to check for compliance with the new regulations and officers will also be raising awareness of how people can protect the Torres Strait.
“Biosecurity is everyone’s business and I urge residents, contractors, visitors and people sending freight to the region to help minimise the spread of pests and weeds.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said to comply with the new biosecurity regulations for the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula area, people need to make changes including:
- Clean all vehicles, heavy machinery and building equipment before shipping or moving between islands;
- Check all raw materials including sand and mulch is clean and free of pests and weeds;
- Check timber products and pallets for insects such as termites or borers and replace this timber before shipping;
- Purchase plants from reputable nurseries and ensure there are no pests or diseases if moving plants between islands; and
- Ensure all clothes, footwear and other personal gear is free of soil and weed seed.
For a fact sheet about the new regulations, visit https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/1541683/factsheet-biosecurity-protection-for-the-torres-strait-and-northern-peninsula-area.pdf
The Prevention and Control Program for High Priority Invasive Species in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula came into effect under the Biosecurity Act 2014 on 1 February 2021.