The Nationals Gippsland South Weeds Taskforce Ragwort Walsh Environment Farmers

The Nationals will tackle weeds and pest animals

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 The Nationals if elected to government.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O'Brien said the 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.

Weeds and pest animals are running rampant in Victoria after Daniel Andrews cut the Department’s number of property inspections and failed to enforce laws which are in place to protect private and public land.

Mr O’Brien said Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh had joined him in meeting with Landcare groups in the Strzelecki Ranges last year to help inform the policies behind this taskforce.

“I’ve been working with landholders who are increasingly frustrated by the lack of enforcement when it comes to weeds and pest animals,” Mr O’Brien said.

“When not properly controlled weeds and pest animals, like rabbits, strangle productivity and choke back yields.

“It’s disheartening for our farmers when they invest time and money to stamp out weeds on their own property, only to have the weeds invade again because their neighbours don’t comply with the law.

“The 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.”

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Talking weeds last year were, from left, South Gippsland Landcare Vice-chair Mark Walters, Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien, Strzelecki beef farmer Rob Jackson, Leader of the Victorian Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh, Narracan MP Gary Blackwood and Rob Waddell from Grand Ridge Propagation Nursery.

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