Gippsland South The Nationals Agriculture Weeds

O’Brien takes weeds plight to Parliament

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has taken community concerns about enforcement of weed control on private land to State Parliament.

Mr O’Brien has asked the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, to take action to crack down on recalcitrant land owners who don’t do the right thing in controlling noxious weeds.

“A few weeks ago I met with a number of Landcare groups at Poowong to discuss their concerns about weed control on private land.

“With a lot more tree-changers and absentee land holders moving into our beautiful Gippsland landscape, education is an issue and there is a growing concern about the management of weeds.

“But it’s not just new arrivals; some long-time landowners as well need to be reminded of their obligations.

“The government has the law at its disposal to enforce proper weed management and the message I heard from this meeting is that not enough is being done.”

Mr O’Brien said he had asked the Minister about better compliance, a flying squad to travel the state to tackle seasonal weed issues, penalties being applied onto land titles of offenders and on-the-spot fines as measures to tackle weeds that were suggested at the meeting.

It’s estimated that weeds cost Australian agriculture $4 billion through yield losses and product contamination each year and that controlling invasive species in Victoria alone costs $253 million.

Mr O’Brien said Labor is not doing enough.

“I heard genuine concern and frustration from my constituents in Poowong a few weeks ago and promised to take up this issue on their behalf.

“Weed control and enforcement is not sexy, it’s not politically exciting, but it must be a priority for the Agriculture Minister.

“I’ve also passed on the concerns and some of the suggested ideas to my Nationals Leader and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, who will be in the region next month to also hear local concerns about weeds.”

The Liberal-Nationals Coalition will have more to say about weed control prior to next year’s election.

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