Biosecurity in northern Australia

Why biosecurity matters in northern Australia

Australia is free from many pests, diseases and weeds present in Southeast Asia and some Pacific countries. Their introduction could devastate our plant and animal industries. Cape York and the Torres Strait are the most likely routes of entry onto the mainland for many exotic pests, weeds and diseases.

For example:

  • The papaya fruit fly is in PNG and Indonesia and has been found in the Torres Strait, where there is an intensive program of monitoring and control. If brought to the mainland in fruit carried from infected areas, it could severely affect our international trade.
  • Screw-worm fly, a serious pest of warm-blooded animals (including people), is in countries to our north and could be introduced via animals brought to our shores illegally. It would pose a serious threat to our cattle and wildlife.

When visiting Cape York and the Torres Strait:

Please observe the special biosecurity regulations in these regions.

For example:

  • It is against the law to move plant and animal material, including fruit, from the Torres Strait to the mainland .
  • Restrictions apply on moving plant material, including fruit, south from Cape York.
  • Take time to read and follow the biosecurity signage and brochures.
  • Biosecurity officers are available to assist you.
  • You can tune into radio FM 88.0 - the biosecurity station transmitted on the Cape York tourist route.
  • Before visiting remote areas find out if biosecurity restrictions apply. If they do, draw them to the attention of other travellers.
  • If you are familiar with an area and notice unusual animal behaviour or signs of pests and diseases, tell a biosecurity officer.
  • Don't take, or encourage others to take, animal or plant material ashore from visiting vessels.

By following these simple precautions, you could be preventing a biosecurity crisis that could severely affect our way of life in Australia.

For further information contact Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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