BIOSECURITY has been a key issue of the Coalition Government in recent years, and its level of importance was further highlighted as the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced $1.7 million in funding for the Torres Strait Regional Authority during his visit to FNQ last week.
The funding is a part of the Federal Government’s $315 million commitment made in May to build a smarter and stronger biosecurity system to further protect Australia’s farm industries and environment.
Mr Littleproud said this funding for the Torres Strait Regional Authority is about further educating and investing in indigenous rangers so they’re able to better identify biosecurity risks.
“First and foremost we need to engage with those who have the boots on the ground, particularly the First Australians, and equip them with the knowledge of what pests they should be on the lookout for and how to identify them,” he said.
“Intrinsically they know that, they have a deep connection with their country and once they undertake the necessary education, we’re confident they’ll do a great job.”
“Added to that, we’ve also invested in telecommunications systems such as scanners and underwater drones to ensure greater efficiency and detection.”
Mr Littleproud said biosecurity is one of the biggest threats in Australia.
“We’re protecting a 60 billion dollar agriculture industry,” he said.
“If we’re not vigilant in investing in new and improved technology and those on the ground, we pose a risk of having an incursion.
“The reality is, we’re probably the last country in the world that takes biosecurity seriously, and it has given us a clean-green image as a result.
“That has meant for better commodity prices for farmers, and we want to make sure we protect those.”
Mr Littleproud noted the wonderful agricultural development happening in northern Queensland, and appears confident that the region will play an integral role in adding to the industry’s economic prosperity.
“We think we can take agriculture from a $60 billion industry and improve it to a $100 billion industry, and we believe this part of the country will be a big reason behind it,” he said.
“You’re sitting on a goldmine up here, and we think the potential for northern Australia is significant.
“At the end of the day, improving biosecurity measures and the prosperity of the agricultural industry go hand in hand.”