News

Call for talks on weed and pest project priorities

Sheep Central, January 19, 2022

AUSTRALIA’S peak farmer body has called on state and territory governments to consult with farmers on pest and weed projects after the Federal Government announced $20 million in further funding yesterday.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the federal funding would be matched by more than $20 million in funding from state and territory governments.

National Farmers Federation chief executive officer Tony Mahar said it was essential for state and territory governments to consult with farmers on the prioritisation and development of projects.

“Farmers are at the coal face of the impact of pests and weeds.

“They are in the landscape every day, witnessing the damage and destruction done,” he said.

“They must be included in the decisions taken to control and prevent the spread of what are a scourge on agriculture and the environment.

“National collaboration on this critical problem is of paramount importance,” Mr Mahar said.

“Pests and weeds don’t observe state boundaries and their effective control requires an all-of-nation approach.”

The investment will facilitate projects to reduce the overall burden of pests and weeds on-ground through activities such as coordinated control, destruction and removal: including trapping, baiting, culling and biological controls. Projects will have application both on private and public land.

State and territory governments will be responsible for the delivery and the identification of projects and projects will be subject to Federal Government approval, the NFF said.

Mr Littleproud said the projects will target nationally significant pest and weed species, such as feral deer, feral pigs, cats, foxes, rabbits, wild dogs and a range of invasive weeds across identified hot spots.

“I welcome the commitment from my state and territory colleagues to co-invest with us to address this significant issue.

Minister Ley said the funding would help better protect Australia’s unique environment from invasive plants and animals, as well as supporting the new Threatened Species Strategy.

“A reduction of pest animals and weeds will lead to more productive and profitable industries, and benefit native wildlife and the environment, including nature-based tourism industries and communities.”

Nationally, the annual cost of established vertebrate pest animals is estimated to be $800 million and over $4 billion for weeds in terms of production losses and control activities. The cost to the environment is difficult to calculate but is likely to be higher.

A 2019 ABARES survey found land managers spent an average of $8,189 annually on pest animal management, up from $7,304 in 2016.

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