Drought-hit communities in the electorate of Barker will receive Australian Government support in their battle to control pest animals and weeds, says Member for Barker Tony Pasin.

Mr Pasin said 33 local government areas – including the Coorong District Council, and District Council of Karoonda East Murray in Barker– will share in $10 million under Round 2 of the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.

“We are delivering on our commitment to help farmers and landholders manage pests and weeds at a time when they are least able to do so,” Mr Pasin said.

“This program aims to reduce the detrimental economic, social and environmental effects associated with pest animals and weeds during drought.”

Mr Pasin said managing pests and weeds was a significant cost for local farmers and even more of an impost for them in drought.

“Anything we can do now to help locals control scourges like rabbits and foxes along with some of our most detrimental weeds is an investment in the future,” Mr Pasin 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. Pests wreak havoc, undermining drought management activities and recovery efforts, and can threaten both livestock and native animals.”

The Coorong District Council will receive $459,510 to target three Weeds of National significance and two pest animal species which are declared under the South Australian Natural Resources Management Act 2004.  The project proposes to offer up to 50% of overall pest plant control costs to participating farm businesses, together with subsidised baits for fox and rabbit control, access to an innovative in-paddock weed control device and access to technical advice through coordinated partnership with local NRM Authorised Officers.

The District Council of Karoonda East Murray will receive $985,000 to manage Natural Resources Management (NRM) identified high priority weeds, as well as rabbit and foxes. A pest animal and weed risk identification, assessment and management plan will be developed by NRM and Council staff and implemented by experienced contractors living in the region that is in line with natural resource management technologies and best management practices. A comprehensive engagement and advertising campaign will commence at the start of the project to increase participation and capture the landholders who are eligible for the pest and weed management program.

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.

23 projects will be funded under Round 2 of the Program.

For more details about the Program visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/pest-management

Fast Facts:

  • 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.