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Welcome to Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter

This edition of the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter highlights how coordination and working locally can make a big difference across Cape York.

The article on the coordinated burning program organised by our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, Andy Hartwig, emphasises how supporting landholders to partner across tenure and property boundaries has delivered our largest early burning program to date.

We also have an article from Charmaine Hill that outlines the work between partners South Cape York Catchments and Tangaroa Blue to deliver for the Cape, despite the COVID-19 travel restrictions, and demonstrating again how partnerships are key to getting great outcomes on ground.

This issue additionally highlights some of the innovative land management that is occurring on pastoral properties across the Cape. Work at Jungle Creek, Merluna Station, and the Peer to Peer Focus Farms— Normanby and Valley View—highlight how land managers are looking for new and more effective ways to manage country and work together to share information.

At Cape York NRM we are always looking for ways improve our delivery, and in October last year we restructured the organisation so we could better deliver projects.

We have created two program teams—one focussing on Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality and the second focusing on Biodiversity and Fire Management.

Kerri Woodcock, who is well known to many through her work with the Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance, has provided an update on the Biodiversity and Fire program activities that she now manages. In the next edition of the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter, Michael Goddard will provide an outline of the Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality program.

While we have had reduced ability to deliver on ground action since March, we have been working hard to increase support for Cape York communities. We have been raising awareness of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 restrictions, including supporting calls for stimulus programs that provide real jobs and have direct on ground benefits to the communities and environments of the Cape. This is a challenge, with most attention going to areas further south where big increases in the unemployment rate have occurred, but we continue to make sure that the Cape voice is heard.

Cape York NRM continues to raise the issue of feral pig impacts across the Cape. We have submitted a response to the Senate Inquiry into feral animal management and have also been able to raise the profile of this issue through the media and the new National Feral Pig Coordinator. We are calling for a well-funded, coordinated control program to protect the environment, businesses, and the health of people on the Cape, and to protect Australia from the spread of introduced diseases. This work will continue, and in the mean time we will continue to support smaller scale localised action where we can.

Once again, thank you for following and supporting the great work across Cape York and I hope you find this newsletter interesting. Travel restrictions permitting, I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the Cape soon.

Warm regards John Gavin

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