Funding boost to help farmers control pest, weeds scourge
Drought-affected communities across the Wide Bay-Burnett region will receive Australian Government support in their battle to control pest animals and weeds.
A consortium of Bundaberg, North Burnett and South Burnett Regional Council’s has been successful under Round 2 of the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.
Federal MPs Keith Pitt, Llew O’Brien and Ken O’Dowd have congratulated the councils on the $338,000 grant.
“Managing pests and weeds is a significant cost for local farmers, in particular during the drought,” Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said.
“The capacity of our farmers to manage pests and weeds during drought is reduced because they are dealing with other challenges such as feeding livestock and keeping their farm businesses running.
“Weeds compete with fodder and native plants. Pest animals like wild dogs and feral pigs wreak havoc, undermining drought management activities and recovery efforts, and can threaten both livestock and native animals.
“The project will expand existing surveillance and control of prickly acacia, honey locust and African boxthorn in the upper catchment of the Burnett River, as well as develop a community-led pest animal working groups to coordinate pest management activities across the three local government areas,” Mr Pitt said.
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said as well as helping land-owners manage pest animals, the project would create employment.
“This project is a win-win for land-holders, the environment, and local workers who will benefit from jobs created in pest management roles,” Mr O’Brien said.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said drought recovery for locals was a slow process but $338,000 worth of funding would help landholders manage the issue.
“Central Queensland was officially drought declared by the Federal Government in May last year and it’s been an uphill battle for producers who are now struggling to control parthenium, rats tail grass as a result of the big dry,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Local landholders will now be better equipped to manage pests like feral pigs as well as feed their livestock.”
Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program funding is used by local councils to support farmers and land managers reduce the impacts of pest animals and weeds on agriculture and the environment, and to stimulate local economies and employment.
For more details about the Program visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/pest-management
- Nationally, the annual cost of established vertebrate pest animals is about $800m and over $4 billion for weeds in production losses and control activities.
- A 2016 survey undertaken by ABARES found that agricultural businesses spend an average of $7,023 yearly on pest animal management activities and an average of $17,917 yearly on weed management activities.
- Round 1 of the Program saw $15m delivered in 2018-19 for 48 pest and weed management and wild dog exclusion fencing projects in drought-affected areas.