Photograph: Biosecurity officers inspecting a dam in Cobargo covered in a state priority weed Water Hyacinth.
21 April 2020
With the scourge of the severe drought being compounded exponentially by the summer’s bushfire disaster and even more recently by flooding, our local rural landholders have and are being faced with immense challenges.
The wonderful support that has come from right across the country, especially regarding the enormous amount of donated fodder, has been nothing short of remarkable, however with its importation into the Shire comes the risk of new species of weeds impacting our environment and economy.
Black knapweed, Broomrapes, Parthenium weed and Kochia are just some of those considered high risk of appearing on the back of feed and fodder coming into our Shire.
Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Australia's environment and primary production resource base. Nationally pest plants continue to invade the land with? exotic species accounting for about 15 per cent of flora. About one-quarter of them are either serious agricultural and environmental weeds or have the potential to be 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 about $4 billion annually.
Bega Valley Shire Council’s Biosecurity and Invasive Species Coordinator, Jamie Dixon-Keay, said the Biosecurity team is focused on supporting and assisting our landholders to prevent any outbreaks of new weed species or at the very least rapidly and effectively suppress their growth.
“We are acutely aware that many people on the land are doing it particularly tough at present and recognise that the normal approach to weed management and undertaking scheduled weed inspections on affected properties just isn’t appropriate,” Mr Dixon-Keay said.
“Instead we are writing to our 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 and will be made available to all landholders who request an inspection.
“These subsidies will vary depending on the property and weed management practices required, however may be valued up to $250 for primary producers and up to $100 for other large rural holdings,” Mr Dixon-Keay said.
This project is being funded by the South East Weeds Action Program - the NSW State Government initiative to reduce the impact of weeds under the NSW Invasive Species Plan and the NSW Biosecurity Strategy in our area.
Due to the current circumstances regarding the COVD-19 pandemic, Council Biosecurity staff are undertaking all precautionary measures regarding infection prevention and we ask that you please respect their actions during property visits.
If you would like more information about the subsidies available through our program, to invite an authorised officer to conduct a weed inspection, or provide advice regarding weed management, please contact Council’s Biosecurity team on (02) 6499 2222.