10 May 2023

Is this an April Fool's joke? Katter slams closure of biosecurity centre

| Matt Nicholls
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THE leader of Katter’s Australian Party has backed the calls of Cape York graziers and growers to keep the Coen biosecurity centre open.

Responding to Cape York Weekly’s exclusive story, Member for Traeger Robbie Katter said he was alarmed that the state government was considering shutting down the Cape York Biosecurity Centre.

“The news of a threat to the future of the Cape York Biosecurity Centre should have come on April 1st, because surely it can only be a joke,” he said.

“We are facing unprecedented, heightened biosecurity risk at present with the spread of both Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin diseases spreading across south-east Asia, and still trying to cope with the shameful legacy that has been produced by under-investment in Biosecurity Queensland over many years.

“In August we revealed the extent of the decline in a local presence of officers across the state, with 30 full-time equivalent biosecurity roles having been lost from regional Queensland in the last 10 years.”

Mr Katter said the Palaszczuk government needed to immediately commit to keeping the Cape York Biosecurity Centre open and operational.

“I am calling on Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Mark Furner to immediately schedule a roundtable meeting to be held in the Cape to discuss with locals the future of the centre, with a view to expanding it not closing it down,” he said.

“The key to properly managing the state’s environment and safe-guarding against biosecurity threats is ongoing investment and preparation over a period of time, and any reduction in the status quo would fly in the face of common-sense.”

The Cape York Biosecurity Centre is located 22km north of Coen.

It was first opened in 1999 under the name of the Coen Information and Inspection Centre.

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