10 May 2023

Mayor eyes biosecurity alternatives across Cape

| Matt Nicholls
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COOK Shire mayor Peter Scott says the closure of the Cape York Biosecurity Centre appears to be a foregone conclusion and plans must start for alternative measures in the region.

Cr Scott spoke with officials from the Department of Fisheries and Agriculture on Friday and walked away believing that there was little hope of saving the Coen facility.

“It’s not an ideal situation but I can see where they are coming from,” the mayor said.

“They are totally re-looking at all of their biosecurity in the Cape and Torres Strait.

“At the moment they are, at best, operating at about 50 per cent capacity at Coen.

“I’m against (closing it) but we now need to look at other options in the region.”

Cook Shire already employs one biosecurity officer and that might have to increase, Cr Scott said.

“There is money available and one of the things DAF brought up, which I thought was a good idea, was having a presence at places where tourists are stopping,” he said.

“Places like the Archer River, Jardine River Ferry and other stops along the way could have signs and messaging about not taking fruit and driftwood and other plant materials.

“A bit more advertising at the roadhouses and perhaps some digital signs would get the attention of tourists who are travelling back home.”

Cr Scott said a station at Lakeland was another good opportunity to spread the word.

“We’ve got that weed spray station that’s been sitting there for a decade without getting used so maybe we could do something there,” he said.

“Not doing anything is not an option.

“Cape York is a key gateway for biosecurity and we can’t let our guard down.”

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