30 September 2020
With the severe effects of drought being compounded exponentially by last summer’s bushfire disaster and then in more recent times by flooding, local rural landholders continue to be faced with immense challenges.
Bega Valley Shire Council’s Biosecurity and Invasive Species Coordinator, Jamie Dixon-Keay said much needed support has come from far and wide, especially the donation of enormous volumes of fodder, which has been nothing short of remarkable.
“With the importation of fodder into the Shire however, comes an associated risk of new weed species impacting our local environment and economy,” he said.
“Black knapweed, Broomrapes, Parthenium weed and Kochia are just some of the weeds considered high-risk in appearing on the back of feed and fodder coming into the Shire.”
Weeds are a serious threat to Australia's environment and primary production resource base. Nationally, pest plants continue to invade the land, with exotic species accounting for around 15% of the nation’s flora.
About one-quarter of these pest plants are either serious agricultural and environmental weeds or have the potential to become serious weeds. They reduce farm and forest productivity, displace native species and contribute to land degradation, with the cost of weeds to agricultural industries across Australia estimated at approximately $4 billion annually.
Mr Dixon-Keay said Council’s Biosecurity team is focused on supporting and assisting landholders to prevent any outbreaks of new weed species, or at the very least rapidly and effectively suppressing their growth.
“We are acutely aware that many people on the land are doing it particularly tough at present and recognise the normal approach to weed management and undertaking scheduled weed inspections on affected properties just isn’t appropriate,” he said.
“Instead, we are attempting to visit all bushfire impacted landholders, offering the opportunity for a post-fire weed inspection and follow-up assistance in weed management, where necessary, through a tailored support program.
“This support program will include the opportunity for subsidised works, resources and tools that facilitate best-practice management of any priority weed species on a particular property.
“These subsidies will vary depending on the property and weed management practices required, however, may be valued up to $1,000 for primary producers and up to $500 for other large rural holdings.”
The project is jointly funded by the South East Local Land Services and the South East Weeds Action Program, a NSW government initiative aimed at reducing the impact of weeds under the NSW Invasive Species Plan and the NSW Biosecurity Strategy in the Bega Valley Shire.
Due to the current circumstances surrounding COVD-19, Council’s Biosecurity staff are undertaking precautionary measures in relation to infection prevention. It is requested that residents respect staff actions during property visits in this regard.
If you would like more information about the subsidies available through the program or to invite an authorised officer to conduct a weed inspection at your property or to obtain advice regarding weed management, contact Council’s Biosecurity team on 02 6499 2222.