A driver in Queensland was outraged after receiving a speeding fine from what he believed to be a hidden speed camera as he was leaving the state for New South Wales.
However, the cameras placed just meters inside the NSW border on Tourist Drive in the Tomewin Conservation Park are not intended to catch speeding drivers, but rather to control the movement of cattle ticks.
These devices, which resemble speed cameras, keep track of vehicles that may be transporting cattle across the border that have not been checked for the insect.
Cattle tick is a significant economic pest of the Queensland cattle industry, and all farm animals must be checked at a quarantine station before crossing the border.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries spokesperson stated that the camera surveillance system offers reliability, efficiency, and addresses management issues, including non-compliance with animal movement regulations, to support any potential tick eradication solution in the future. The tick is estimated to cost the industry around $160 million every year.
Despite their purpose, the driver mistook the cattle tick cameras for speed cameras and posted a video to TikTok, unwittingly pointing out that NSW is the only state to implement cameras to help control the spread of the tick.
NSW expanded the line of cameras to cover all major and numerous minor crossings into the state in 2013 after being introduced in 2008. Heavy infestations of cattle tick cause tick worry, an infectious disease caused by bites, and loss of blood that can sometimes lead to death.
The Queensland Department of Business website writes that the tick can also transmit three blood-borne tick fever organisms that cause sickness and death in cattle.
The tick also releases paralysing toxins that can kill calves and smaller household animals such as cats and dogs and also seriously affect humans. Despite the cameras’ attempt to stop the spread of the deadly parasite, 2020 was the worst year on record for cattle tick infestations with 170 incidents across NSW’s north coast.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) urged cattle farmers to be on the lookout and report any sighting of the insect. Successful eradication of cattle tick can take 18 months.
‘We advise producers to adhere to biosecurity procedures, which ensure their herds are protected from tick infestations,’ said Paul Freeman, NSW DPI senior veterinary officer. ‘If cattle ticks are found, we will work with producers to carry out eradication treatment programs and monitor cattle on adjoining properties to isolate infestations.’