VICTORIA’S peak farmer organisation is calling on the State Government to get serious about controlling harmful pests.
The Victorian Farmers Federation, appearing before the Parliamentary Inquiry into the control of invasive species today, stressed the need for more government funding to not only stop the spread of wild pests but also reduce their impact on farmers and biodiversity.
“Wild dogs, foxes, rabbits and other pests continue to have a devastating impact on farmer livelihoods all over Victoria,” VFF Land Management Committee Chairman Gerald Leach said.
“It’s important that the Government devotes more resources to this issue so that a full range of tools can be used to controlling this pest.”
“Right now we don’t even have enough money to contain the problem, let alone think about stopping the problem from spreading.”
Submissions to the Inquiry indicated the Government has allocated roughly $10 million in this financial year to manage invasive animals, down from $13 million six years ago.
Mr Leach said the VFF was concerned the drop in funding would further compromise the ability to minimise the environmental, social and economic impact of a critical issue.
“We need a firm political commitment to confront the pest and weed problem in Victoria and the Government has to become more proactive about managing weeds on public land,” he said.
“This includes ensuring appropriate resources are allocated for on-ground works to stop weeds and pests from diminishing natural values on public land, and from spreading on to private land.”
But Mr Leach also urged the need for farmers to work closely with the Government in solving the State’s pest control problem.
“It’s absolutely vital for farmers to work with managers of public land to control these pests because without a collaborative response, no strategy is going to be effective,” he said.
“Invasive species affect both public and private land and we need to ensure everyone is on the same page in order to combat the problem.”