Gippsland farmers and land managers will be supported in the fight against weeds and pest animals with a new taskforce to be set up by a Liberal Nationals Government, The Nationals Melina Bath, Member for Eastern Victorian Region has announced.
Weeds and pest animals are running rampant in Victoria after Daniel Andrews cut the Department’s number of property inspections and has failed to enforce laws which are in place to protect private and public land.
Ms Bath said a new weeds and pest animals enforcement taskforce will be established in Agriculture Victoria by a Liberal Nationals Government, to bolster control efforts and strengthen compliance.
“When not properly controlled weeds and pest animals, like rabbits, strangle productivity and choke back yields,” Ms Bath said.
“Weeds and pests do not observe boundaries between private property and public land therefore it essential the government provide support. It is both frustrating and expensive for our farmers when they invest time, money and energy to stamp out weeds on their own property, only to have the weeds invade again because their neighbours don’t comply with the law.
“All Victorians are affected by weeds either directly or indirectly. Weeds and pests reduce farm and forest productivity, invade crops, smother pastures and some can even harm livestock, which ultimately increases the prices of food to consumers.
“The Liberal Nationals’ $6.88 million commitment over four years will support farmers who do the right thing by bolstering their control efforts and properly enforcing Victorian laws.”
Weeds cost our nation’s farmers an estimated $4 billion each year through yield losses and product contamination.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said supporting our farmers and land managers just wasn’t a priority for Labor.
“We need to urgently reverse the damage Daniel Andrews has caused by cutting inspection rates and failing to properly enforce weed and pest animal laws,” Mr Walsh said.
“There are lots of farmers who do the right thing, spend money and do the grunt work controlling weeds and pests on their properties but all that good work is undone if recalcitrant neighbours flout the laws.
“Weeds and pests like rabbits can severely impact on productivity so it is critical that we do everything we can to support farmers, because profitable farm businesses are critical for local economies and jobs throughout Regional Victoria,” he said.