Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), Torres Shire Council (TSC), Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) and the Torres Straits Invasive Species Advisory Group (TSISAG) have collaboratively developed this Regional Biosecurity Plan (the Plan). The development of the Plan has been the culmination of extensive consultation with Torres Strait and NPARC communities, Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate (RNTBCs), all levels of government and research providers.
The Plan has been developed in response to the significant threats to Torres Strait’s economic, environmental, social and cultural assets and values posed by existing and potential pests from within and outside Australia, and in recognition that the most practical and effective way to manage a number of these threats is at the regional level while acknowledging and supporting the management approaches adopted by each of the Torres Strait island communities.
- The Plan consolidates the biosecurity issues of the region by establishing a region-wide planning framework to provide clear direction for the management of weeds, pest animals and diseases of plants and animals across the Torres Strait for the period 2018-2023, underpinned by practical actions directed at both the regional and island levels.
- Weed infestations may affect the ecological composition, structure and function of the habitats and natural processes that keep Torres Strait’s land systems healthy by displacing native plants and providing habitat that is unsuitable for some native fauna. These biosecurity threats may contribute to changes in fire regimes, reduce groundcover and lead to increased risk of erosion causing sediment movement into waterways and the sea. Some weeds are toxic and have the potential to adversely affect human health.
- Consultation meeting participants (approximately 200) were united in their support for the Regional Biosecurity Plan to initiate strategies to minimise the introduction of weeds, pest animals and plant and animal diseases to the Torres Strait. Participants acknowledged that preventing the establishment of biosecurity threats was more cost effective than controlling threats after they had been established.
- The best way to empower Torres Strait communities is to build their knowledge and skills in relation to biosecurity threats and management approaches. Success in building community knowledge and skills will enhance community-led management approaches to tackling biosecurity threats affecting regional and island environmental and cultural assets and values.