Thirty-six projects to combat the impact of feral animals and weeds on agricultural and public land have been announced by the Federal Government.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the 36 projects involve on-ground activities, in partnership with state and territory governments, grant recipients and service providers, to reduce the impact of feral deer, cats, foxes and pigs, wild dogs and weeds on high-value agricultural and public land.
Pest animals are estimated to cost farmers and land managers $800 million a year, and weeds over $4 billion a year, in lost production and control activities.
Mr Littleproud said the $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 four 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.
Source: Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Environment