Queensland Invasive Pests Strategy a Good Start but Funding Vital

Published: 14th November 2019

Queensland councils are concerned inadequate investment in the Queensland Invasive Plants and Animals Strategy 2018-2023 could see it fail to deliver.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), peak body for the state’s 77 councils, welcomed today’s long-awaited release of the Strategy but urged caution.

LGAQ Chief Executive CEO Greg Hallam said the Strategy’s good intentions needed to be matched financially.

“It’s a great step in the right direction, but we need the strategy to lift from the page and turn into real outcomes if Queensland’s $20 billion primary production sector is to be effectively supported.

“Sufficient funding is critical to ensure the ongoing vitality of these industries in our regional communities.

“Many of these communities have been challenged by fires and drought, while others are still recovering from devastating floods: the time has never been better and the need never greater to take action,” Mr Hallam said.

The continued funding for the provision of 1080 poison to councils for the ongoing strategic control of wild dogs was high on the agenda at a meeting of Western Queensland councils in Brisbane today.

Mayor of Barcaldine Regional Council, Councillor Robert Chandler, reaffirmed the importance of the control program.

“It’s particularly important that we have ongoing certainity to support the significant investment already made by private landholders and the State Government to build wild dog exclusion fencing,” Cr Chandler said.

Mr Hallam said the LGAQ is urgently seeking a financial commitment for control of prickly acacia following last season’s monsoon trough event to prevent a mass outbreak in the state’s north-west.

“Prickly acacia, which devastates vitally important grazing land, is already popping up.

“It would be a further blow to Queenslanders, who are still picking themselves up after the unimaginable hardship of the flooding earlier this year, to have to confront a widespread infestation of this insidious weed,” he said.

Other priorities include:

  • Bolstering environmental biosecurity for the protection of areas with high environmental value
  • Expansion of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative to provide for further establishment of cluster fencing, and
  • Further resourcing of the control of invasive ants with a campaign to engage and activate the public.

Mr Hallam said local government has long been a significant contributor to Queensland’s fight against invasive species.

“Councils and the communities they serve expect the State Government to do the right thing and ensure Queensland remains vigilant in the battle against these voracious, unwelcome invaders.

“Our member councils are already investing $45 million each year in controlling invasive plants and animals.

“Yet many feel current funding levels are insufficient to ensure legislative obligations are met and the community’s expectations of basic biosecurity integrity are fulfilled,” Mr Hallam said.

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Kristy Gooding, LGAQ Lead for Natural Assets and NRM chats to Cr Tony Rayner from Longreach on the importance of managing pests and weeds and the associated funding challenges.