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Travelling in Cape York and the Torres Strait - protect Queensland from pests and diseases

Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait Islands are high-risk areas for the entry of plant and animal pests and diseases that originate from countries to the north of Australia. The northern most Torres Strait island of Saibai is only 3.5 kilometres from the coast of Papua New Guinea, offering a potential pathway of pests and diseases into Australia. These pests and diseases not only threaten the viability of our agricultural industries, but could also introduce serious diseases that are harmful to humans.

Ten simple ways travellers can help

There are 10 simple ways you can help protect Queensland and Australia from new pests and diseases, and stop the spread of current pests travelling further north:

  1. Visit the Coen Information and Inspection Centre to learn about the high-risk pests and diseases that could affect Cape York and the Torres Strait, as well as the rest of Queensland.
  2. Observe the quarantine restrictions that apply to the movement of animals, plants, soil and other carriers of pests and diseases in Cape York and the Torres Strait.
  3. When travelling south from Cape York, do not move plant or fruit material from Far North Biosecurity Zone 1 into Far North Biosecurity Zone 2, or out of Far North Biosecurity Zone 2 into the rest Queensland.
  4. Present any plant or fruit material to the Coen Information and Inspection Centre for inspection.
  5. Outside business hours, place any plant or animal material you may be carrying in the amnesty bins provided at the Coen Information and Inspection Centre.
  6. Prevent weeds, pest bees, plant hoppers and tramp ants from spreading by cleaning your vehicles, trailers, boats and propellers, quad bikes, camping gear and shoes.
  7. Make sure you check your vehicle, including trailers and caravans, for any stowaways (such as bees, ants and reptiles).
  8. Do not feed pigs, wild dogs or poultry any food waste (including restaurant waste, butcher shop waste and bakery waste).
  9. Check your animals for injuries and wounds. If you notice anything unusual, see a vet as soon as possible.
  10. If you think you have spotted a plant or animal pest or disease, or have unwanted stowaways on board your vehicle, record the details of the location (take a photo if possible) and a description of what you have seen. To report the sighting, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit ww.biosecurity.qld.gov.au, or contact the Coen Information and Inspection Centre on (07) 4060 1135.

Cape York and Torres Strait residents and visitors play a key role in helping to detect exotic pests and diseases. Early detection is vital to successful pest control and eradication.

Know the enemy

Cape York and the Torres Strait consist of millions of hectares of diverse habitat, flora and fauna.

Given its immense size, its important that we all take responsibility for its wellbeing and report any suspect invasive plant or animal pests and diseases to Biosecurity Queensland.

There are a number of plant and animal pests and diseases not present in Cape York or the Torres Strait, and its important for travellers not to introduce them into the area. Likewise, there are plant and animal pests and diseases in Cape York and the Torres Strait that are not present in the rest of Queensland. These pests and diseases are ‘biosecurity matter’ and the plants and animals they infest or infect are ‘biosecurity carriers’.

Under Queensland legislation, everybody has a general biosecurity obligation. That means all people who deal with ‘biosecurity matter’ must take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise risk to human health, agriculture, the environment, social amenity and the economy.

The information provided here explains how you can meet your general biosecurity obligation by not introducing new pests and diseases into Cape York, the Torres Strait or the rest of Queensland.

Biosecurity zones

To protect Cape York, the Torres Strait and the rest of Queensland, the Queensland Government has established 2 biosecurity zones (PDF, 420.66KB) north of the Coen Information and Inspection Centre to prevent the movement of plant and animal pests and diseases:

  • Far North Biosecurity Zone 1 (FNBZ 1)
  • Far North Biosecurity Zone 2 (FNBZ 2)

The Australian Government also manages quarantine zones within the Torres Strait—movement controls apply. For more information about these controls, contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 1800 900 090 or visit www.agriculture.gov.au.

Travelling north

We encourage visitors to implement some basic biosecurity practices to help protect the sensitive Cape York and the Torres Strait area.

Before you leave home

  • Ensure your vehicle, caravan, trailer, boat and camping gear are clean from weed seed.

Travelling by road

  • Keep to designated roads and tracks.
  • Break your northern journey by visiting the Coen Information Centre and talk to our local, expert staff about:
    • biosecurity issues in the area
    • how to identify plant and animal pests and diseases, and stop their spread.
  • Regularly clean the inside and outside of vehicles, and clothing (particularly long pants, socks and boots).
  • Place any seeds or vegetative material in a plastic bag, secure it and take it to the nearest local government office for identification and destruction.

On your way home

  • Comply with quarantine restrictions that apply to plants, fruit and soil when moving between biosecurity zones in Cape York and the Torres Strait.
  • Present any plant or fruit material for inspection at the Coen Information and Inspection Centre.

Travelling south

There are serious agricultural pests that are contained in parts of the Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York and the Torres Strait. Many of these pests can hide deep inside plant leaves and stems, inside fruit and seeds, and in soil.

Under Queensland legislation, you must not move fruit, plant material and soil out of Far North Biosecurity Zone 1 (FNBZ 1) or south from Far North Biosecurity Zone 2 (FNBZ 2) without a permit.

Small insects such as plant hoppers and midges can hitchhike inside plant material (e.g. inside the rolled leaves of sugar cane tops and inside mango leaves), and can be easily moved in vehicles (especially when parked under mango trees). Remove any insects from your vehicle before travelling southwards from the Cape.

Before you leave Cape York

  • Ensure your vehicle, trailer, boat and camping gear are free of any plant material, soil and hitchhiking insects.
  • Clean and check your vehicles and equipment again before leaving FNBZ 2.
  • Present any plant or fruit material to the Coen Information and Inspection Centre for inspection.

Contact us

If you see an exotic pest or disease of plants or animals, contact:

  • the Coen Information and Inspection Centre on (07) 4060 1135
  • biosecurity officers at Bamaga, Weipa or Cairns
  • our Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

Related information

Coen Information and Inspection Centre

Biosecurity Queensland
Peninsula Developmental Road, Opposite Coen Airport
Cape York

Ph: (07) 4060 1135 or email 

Hours: 7am to 5pm (dry season) or 7am to 4pm (wet season)

Night and weekend inspections may take place during the mango fruiting season.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
20 March 2018
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