Indigenous rangers dedicated to stopping exotic pests

Indigenous rangers in far north Queensland recently received a Biosecurity Commendation award from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for their valuable work in keeping a Top Watch for pests and diseases entering through our northern gateway.

Rick Hawe (left) presents the Biosecurity Commendation award to Mapoon Shire Council CEO Leon Yeatman

The Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers, based in western Cape York Peninsula, play a vital role in biosecurity work including vector monitoring, marine debris surveillance and assisting departmental scientists and officers gain access to traditional lands. Numerous Indigenous ranger groups across northern Australia undertake a variety of biosecurity work on behalf of the department, which allows the department to extend its biosecurity reach across remote areas of our northern border.

Rick Hawe, Assistant Secretary, Inspection Services Group, said the Mapoon Shire Council’s Land and Sea Rangers were deserving recipients of the award.

“Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers are constantly striving towards achieving biosecurity excellence, ensuring their land and people within the Mapoon community are safeguarded from exotic pests and diseases,” Mr Hawe said.

“Their vigilance in performing a variety of biosecurity activities in conjunction with, and on behalf of, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has been of a high standard.

“Their dedication is based upon a solid professional relationship between the ranger group and our department over a sustained period.”

A recent example of the ranger group’s commitment was a request from Queensland Health to undertake additional mosquito vector surveillance at various locations within the Mapoon Community.

“The Mapoon rangers were extremely obliging in assisting with the preparation of the trapping exercise, which included community engagement. Their dedicated team of rangers identified a number of areas with a high mosquito population and assisted with the set up and removal of the traps,” Mr Hawe said.

Leon Yeatman, Chief Executive Officer for the Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, added:  “The Ranger team in Mapoon are very supportive of biosecurity initiatives and we are proud that our biosecurity work has been recognised by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

“The Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council is keen to see that any partnership arrangements with the department can be enhanced to ensure our community remains free from exotic pests and diseases.”

This article was reproduced from the February 2017 edition of the newsletter Biosecurity Matters, by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water.

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