Biosecurity Biosecurity

Cook Shire Council has a dedicated biosecurity team in place to undertake local pest and weed management services in accordance with the Cook Shire Pest Management Plan 2012-2016. Please be advised that the existing plan is currently being reviewed and will be replaced by the Cook Shire Biosecurity Plan 2016-2020 in early 2017. 

Further information on the programs and incentives offered by Council can be obtained by contacting Council's Biosecurity Services team on 07 4069 5444 or

2016 Pest Animal Baiting Program 2016 Pest Animal Baiting Program

Council's 2016 Pest Animal Baiting Program recently concluded with participation rates the highest on record. In excess of 5 million hectares were treated in the course of the program within the Cook Shire local government area to reduce the impact that pest animal species have on the environment and agricultural production. For a full summary of the areas treated and the quantity of bait distributed please consult the 2016 Pest Animal Baiting Program map.

For further information regarding the program please contact Council's Biosecurity Services team on 4069 5444.

Roadside weed spraying - 2017 Roadside weed spraying - 2017

Planning is well underway for commencement of Council’s roadside weed spraying program for 2017 across both the Main Roads and local road network. Priorities for this season include a further reduction in the density of rubber vine found on the Mulligan Highway and southern Peninsula Development Rd (PDR), extension of the buffer established to reduce the risk of gamba grass spread from the northern PDR across York Downs Station and follow up works on designated weeds located in areas associated with a high volumes of traffic.

Please be advised that Council welcomes any input from community members as to the location of weeds or areas of particular concern. Biosecurity Services will treat all reports of infestations seriously and endeavour to incorporate these areas into the program schedule. Should you have any queries regarding the upcoming program or would like advise Council about roadside weeds you have encountered please contact the Biosecurity Services team on 4069 5444.

Tramp Ants Tramp Ants

The presence of invasive ant species, including Wasmannia auropunctata (electric ants) and Anoplolepis gracilipes (yellow crazy ants), in Cairns and surrounding environs has resulted in increased vigilance by neighbouring local government authorities to ensure new infestations are identified early to maximise the chances of eradication. To this end Biosecurity Services has been working to raise community awareness of invasive ants through media releases and the invitation of a specialist electric ant dog detection team to Cooktown on the 12th and 13th December 2016.

The community response has been encouraging with several residents reporting suspicious ant colonies. Fortunately, to date the majority of species reported have been identified as native however it is apparent that one invasive species, Trichomyrmex destructor (Singapore ants), is widespread throughout Cooktown. More information regarding Singapore ants can be found in a Northern Territory Government fact sheet.

Additional action to address this issue includes the development of a Regional Tramp Ant Response Plan has recently been developed by the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils Natural Asset Management Advisory Committee and supported by Council. A component of this plan will involve the establishment of sentinel sites and monitoring across the Cook Shire local government area in areas considered likely to harbour invasive ants. The combination of active monitoring with enhanced community awareness is a deliberate strategy aimed and minimising the probability of invasive ants establishing populations within our community.

Should you wish to report suspicious ant colonies or require further information about invasive ant species please contact Council’s Biosecurity Services team on 4069 5444.

Ordering from overseas online - BEWARE Ordering from overseas online - BEWARE

As a population living in a remote location without access to the diversity of goods and services available to those in larger centres many of us choose to shop online. While in the vast majority of cases this presents no problems it is necessary to consider potential Biosecurity risks when purchasing products, particularly those with any plant of animal content, from overseas. A range of microbes with the potential to pose a substantial threat to Australian industries (agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture etc.) are easily transported in this manner.

A recent example of such a case that was fortunately intercepted prior to arrival can be found on the Australian Government's Biosecurity Matters website. Further information regarding what can and cannot be legally mailed to an Australian address is available from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.