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TSRA to receive $1.7M in grants to enhance frontline biosecurity resilience

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Rangers program will receive $1,730,000 in funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, to expand the region’s capacity to assist in regional biosecurity activities.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Pedro Stephen AM, said the purpose of the funding is to expand both the capacity and engagement of the Torres Strait to conduct or assist in biosecurity monitoring and response.

“The grant will expand opportunities for the region through the provision of training, biosecurity awareness and telecommunications infrastructure to enhance frontline biosecurity resilience,” Mr Stephen said.

“The grant will support the delivery of training and enhanced network connectivity to the TSRA Rangers.”

Head of the Department’s Science Services Group, Mr Wayne See Kee, said this investment would support activities and training programs in biosecurity fundamentals and emergency response management. “It includes the development of new ways of working with schools to improve biosecurity awareness,” Mr See Kee said.

“The aim is also to improve the region’s telecommunication capacity and to allow community-based managers to access online reporting of biosecurity activities and suspect exotic pests and diseases.”

This grant builds upon a previous $2,000,000 investment by the Australian Government contributed towards the Torres Strait digital foundation project that was completed earlier this year.

The project increased 4G coverage, upgraded inter-island links and increased capacity to the mainland. This will provide better outcomes in the provision of services such as health, education and economic development, as well as in the social wellbeing of the residents through being more connected to each other.

This project has also improved communications between biosecurity officers in the Torres Strait and consequently the effective management of biosecurity risks across this well-recognised incursion pathway.

The emergency management training initiative aims to provide skills to Rangers and council officers to deliver on-the ground support in the event of a pest, weed or disease incursion. Having these skills increases the chance to contain incursions.

Pictured: Senior Ranger, Aaron Bon teaches school children about birds on Mer after School

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