Biosecurity collaboration in Torres Strait region

8 April 2022
  • Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area is a high-biosecurity risk zone
  • Partnerships between biosecurity and environmental participants across all levels of government has reduced duplication of effort and costs
  • $61.6 million boost to our northern frontline will build biosecurity capability across northern Australia

Collaborative biosecurity initiatives are strengthening our biosecurity frontline and protecting Australia against the threat of serious pests and diseases.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said implementing the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Biosecurity Strategy is a great example of how we are working together to improve biosecurity outcomes.

“Emerging biosecurity threats in our northern neighbours, such as lumpy skin disease and African swine fever, along with the recent outbreak of Japanese encephalitis, highlight the need for vigilance and a coordinated approach to protecting Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Current initiatives focus on improving biosecurity infrastructure, delivering biosecurity training and reference material, expanding availability of detector dogs in Torres Strait, and obtaining baseline risk data on pest ant species within the region.

“Implementation of this Strategy, and similar regional biosecurity plans for high risk areas, will be further boosted by our $61.6 million injection to build biosecurity capability and infrastructure, as well as surveillance and diagnostic technologies across the north.

“Our newly appointed Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Beth Cookson based in Cairns, will also partner with stakeholders to build resilience to current and emerging animal disease threats and deepen engagement in the South-East Asia region.”

“I acknowledge and thank the efforts of our biosecurity partners across the north in keeping pests and disease at bay.”

Find out more about the Strategy and boosting our northern biosecurity frontline

Fast Facts:

  • Executive Steering Group co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-Biosecurity for Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) and the Chief Biosecurity Officer for Queensland oversees initiatives delivered through the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Biosecurity Strategy. 
  • Working groups include representatives from DAWE, Biosecurity Queensland, Australian Border Force, Queensland Departments of Health and Infrastructure, local governments and traditional owner representative bodies.
  • Since the Strategy was finalised in 2018, biosecurity partners have:
    • established agreed priority pest lists to guide collaborative efforts
    • agreed treatment, containment and disposal conditions for removal of abandoned vehicles aligned to relevant biosecurity regulations.
    • coordinated community engagement activities promoting awareness of biosecurity threats, applicable State and Commonwealth biosecurity regulations in the region, and reporting requirements to support early detection of threat species
    • established improved biosecurity controls applicable to movements of cargo and conveyances entering Torres Strait from mainland Australia
    • facilitated increased Queensland government investment in biosecurity officer resources in the region
    • facilitated integrated service models between DAWE, the Australian Border Force and the Torres Strait Regional Authority to increase efficiencies in agreed biosecurity regulation functions in Torres Strait
    • coordinated approaches to engaging indigenous trainees in biosecurity-related services. 
  • The Australian Government’s Biosecurity Business Grants and Ranger Capability Building Grants are enabling innovative biosecurity solutions and supporting biosecurity service delivery across Northern Australia, including in the Torres Strait region.