Farmers to be better armed for war on pests, weeds
Federal Government funding will help ensure Burnett farmers have the weapons they need in the battle against pest animals and weeds.
The South Burnett, North Burnett and Bundaberg Regional Councils have secured $338,000 from round two of the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.
Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, said the project would create employment and help landowners manage pest animals.
“The project is a win-win for landholders, the environment, and local workers who will benefit from jobs created in pest management roles,” Mr O’Brien said.
The annual cost of established pest animals is about $800 million, while more than $4 billion was attributed to weeds in production losses and control activities.
Federal Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, said managing these pests and weeds was a significant cost for farmers while they faced additional drought costs.
“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,” Mr Pitt said.
Weeds will often compete with fodder and native plants on the properties.
“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 include community-led pest animal working groups to co-ordinate pest management activities across the three local government areas.
It will also expand existing surveillance and control of prickly acacia honey locust and African boxthorn in the upper catchment of the Burnett River.
Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said drought recovery was a slow process, but the $338,000 funding would help landholders manage the issue.
“Local landholders will now be better equipped to manage pests like feral pigs as well as feed their livestock,” Mr O’Dowd said.
The three regions have been drought-affected for more than a year.
“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,” he said.