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Weeds out of control

LANDHOLDERS who neglect weeds on their properties should face tougher penalties, according to farmer Ann Bullen.
She said farmers who fail to tackle their weeds help spread weeds across the region, creating more work and cost for diligent farmers.
“Take a drive through Gippsland. You will see farms, obviously well kept, next to farms which have thistles, ragwort and blackberries to the boundaries. They can expect more work on the noxious weed front,” she said.
An Agriculture Victoria spokesperson said declared weeds such as ragwort, blackberry and thistles are widespread.
“As these species cannot be eradicated from the state, it is neither feasible nor cost effective for government to undertake enforcement on all infestations,” the spokesperson said.
“These species can however be effectively managed at a local level where there is coordinated control across all lands in the area.
“For this reason, Agriculture Victoria prioritises its enforcement effort to areas where the community is working together and committed to managing weeds at a local level.”
Ms Bullen, who farms at Tetoora Road between Korumburra and Warragul, said Agriculture Victoria has changed its ‘enforcement’ model for the Catchment and Land Protection (CaLP) Act, and now expects farmers to do its work through its new ‘Community Led’ model for weed control.
“Agriculture Victoria will now not act on infestations of noxious weeds unless there is considerable community action. The people who do the right thing and have clean properties, now have to organise weed field days, engage with the community and encourage weed control action through Landcare or some other local group,” she said.
“That is, good and conscientious landholders have to spend more time and money doing Agriculture Victoria’s work for them. This is wrong.”
Ms Bullen said only Agriculture Victoria can enforce the CaLP Act.
“Farmers rely on having good relations with their neighbours. They are now expected to be the ‘weed police’ and to have discussed weed problems with their recalcitrant neighbours,” she said.
“This leads to ill feeling along the boundary fence and means some farmers accept the degradation of their properties, and the extra work that entails, in order to stay on good terms with neighbours, necessary in the farming community with shared fences and activities. Agriculture Victoria should be acting, a third party is necessary.”
Ms Bullen said many roadsides and other public lands were also weedy, contributing to the proliferation of weeds.
“Agriculture Victoria needs to put people into the field, information into letterboxes and local papers, and do something about the relatively few landholders, including government, who are degrading our environment and jeopardising our agricultural products,” she said.
A spokesperson for Agriculture Victoria said it ensures its compliance efforts deliver the best possible outcomes.
“Approaches include providing information and advice on weed identification, best practice control to individual landowners, and implementing enforcement projects to support community-led weed control,” the spokesperson said.
Land Management Notices are issued to land owners where other compliance approaches have failed and when those orders are disobeyed, Agriculture Victoria takes legal action against the landowner.
“Agriculture Victoria is committed to continuing to work with local community groups on improving declared weed control, including the South Gippsland Community Weeds Taskforce,” the spokesperson said.

On the job: Ann Bullen attends to weeds on her Tetoora Road farm. She is concerned about the proliferation of weeds in South Gippsland and what she sees as inadequate enforcement by Agriculture Victoria.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24626

Posted by on Apr 10 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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