Thirty-six projects to combat the impact of feral animals and weeds on agricultural and public land have been announced today by the Coalition Government.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said pest animals and weeds threaten our primary productivity, environment, and biodiversity.
“This is why we are committing to deliver 36 projects for on-ground activities, in partnership with state and territory governments, grant recipients and service providers to reduce their impact,” Minister Littleproud said.
Minister Littleproud said the projects will deliver on-ground control and innovations to reduce the impact that feral deer, cats, foxes and pigs, wild dogs and weeds have on high-value agricultural and public land.
Pest animals cost our farmers and land managers $800 million a year, and weeds over $4 billion a year, in lost production and control activities.
“It is a fantastic outcome that our $20 million commitment for 30 projects will leverage an additional $45 million of cash and in-kind support, matched by state and territory governments that will deliver real benefits on ground.
“$4.26 million in grants for 4 projects back our best and brightest to take on invasive pest animals, including rats in intensive livestock farms and landscape-wide trials used artificial intelligence; and weeds, including tropical soda apple in northern NSW and examining a range of chemical and biological control systems for weeds. The prospects of new technology to tackle these problems is very exciting,” Minister Littleproud said.
Minister Ley said the projects will also protect Australia’s native wildlife and biodiversity from the threats posed by invasive species.
“Feral animals and invasive weeds pose an enormous threat to our environment claiming the lives of millions of native species each year and impacting local ecosystems.
“These projects work with communities, land managers and Traditional Owners, and Indigenous Rangers to intensify existing efforts through strong partnerships and additional funding.
“We’ve allocated more than $4 million to target feral deer across the country and more than $2 million to tackle the combined threat of feral cats and foxes.
“A further $432,346, from a $6 million allocation, will focus on protection of 2 iconic Australian species – the Kangaroo Island echidna in South Australia and the plains wanderer in Victoria – through the reduction of feral cats and foxes that threaten their existence.
“This builds on our work in the wake of the 2019-20 summer bushfires, further efforts to reduce the impacts of invasive plants like Siam weed, the spread of Gamba grass in northern Australia and existing programs to reduce the number of feral cats and other pests.
“The continued removal of feral predator and pest animals and invasive plant species is an important part of our ten year Threatened Species Strategy.”
An overview of the projects is available at www.awe.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/pests-diseases-weeds/pest-animals-and-weeds/supporting-communities
Grant funding is GST inclusive where applicable.
- Since 2014-15, the Coalition Government has invested over $350 million strategically in established pest animal and weed management where it is in the national interest.
- The Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program provides $49.1 million over four years (2021-22 to 2024-25).
- Nationally, the annual cost of established vertebrate pest animals is estimated to be $800 million and over $4 billion for weeds in terms of production losses and control activities. The cost to the environment is difficult to calculate but is likely to be higher.
- A 2019 ABARES survey found land managers spent an average of $8,189 annually on pest animal management, up from $7,304 in 2016.
- Projects support implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan, National Feral Pig Action Plan and the National Feral Deer Action Plan (draft).
- Reducing the impact of these invasive predators and weeds will support the recovery of at least 80 priority species and improve the condition of priority places identified in the Coalition Government’s Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021-2026.