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Funding boost to eliminate pests and weeds

In a huge win for the Nats, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce has announced a significant $10.5 million package to strengthen Australia’s management of pest animals and weeds.

This package will fund 23 different projects and form part of a wider $50 million investment in the effort to control weeds and pest animals, giving farmers and communities access to the tools they need to tackle this invasive problem. 

Pest animals cost Australian producers an estimated $620 million per year in production losses, and weeds cost an additional $4 billion annually to control. It is vital that farmers and land managers remain on top in the battle against pests, as they harm the regions’ agricultural productivity and the environment.

Barnaby Joyce said the funded projects will be delivered under the Control Tools and Technologies for Established Pest Animals and Weeds Programme and gave an insight as to how the grants will support the creation and implementation of new technologies.

“The funding will be used to develop technologies such as herbicide spraying devices, automated traps and thermal aerial imaging for pest monitoring and optimise the use of chemicals, biological control agents,” Barnaby said.

Automated traps such as ‘Intelli-Traps’ – developed by the ACT’s Invasive Animals Limited – can detect, think and act independently in order to target specific pest animals.

“These new technologies will help to strengthen the fight against pests such as wild dogs, rabbits, foxes, feral pigs and donkeys and improve our management of established weeds, such as blackberry, gorse, prickly acacia, rubber vine, parkinsonia, mesquite and Chilean Needlegrass," Barnaby said.

The Nationals in Government have already introduced multiple other initiatives as a means of reducing the populations of pests.

In October 2016, Barnaby announced the RHDV1 K5 virus, a new strain of calicivirus, would be trialled across 481 sites to reduce the rabbit population in Australia. The Coalition Government committed $1.2 million to assist with the roll-out, which has already contributed to significantly reducing the population of the pest around the country.

Barnaby also secured $15 million in Government funding towards a National Carp Control Plan, which uses the koi herpes virus to eradicate the carp population improving the health of our rivers. This deadly, carp-specific virus – developed by the CSIRO – has already begun attacking these predatory pests that in some areas comprise up to 90 per cent of the Murray-Darling Basin’s fish biomass.

This effort is a massive step towards protecting our native fish species which the common carp has threatened to eliminate, and will help improve confidence and economic prosperity in Murray-Darling communities.

These continued endeavours highlight The Nationals as the only Party who understand and prioritise the needs of rural Australia. Protecting our environment and agricultural land is a core priority for the Party, and with Barnaby Joyce leading the attack we will continue the fight against pest animals and weeds.

For more information on funding for innovation in pest animal and weed management visit www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/pest-animals-andweeds/wp-comp-grants-programme

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