Federal funds of $20 million have been set aside to further boost Australia’s efforts to combat pests and weeds.
The multi-million dollar package will be matched by Australia’s states and territories to reduce the impact on agriculture, wildlife and the environment.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud, and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said pest animals and weeds pose a significant threat to Australia’s primary production, environment and biodiversity.
“Pests and weeds are a huge and growing problem for Australia’s agriculture and environment,” Mr Littleproud said.
The cash injection will include money for trapping, baiting and culling, along with biological control release.
“They will target nationally significant pest and weed species, such as feral deer, feral pigs, cats, foxes, rabbits, wild dogs and a range of invasive weeds across identified hot spots,” he said.
“I welcome the commitment from my state and territory colleagues to co-invest with us to address this significant issue.”
Ms Ley said the funding would help better protect Australia’s unique environment from invasive plants and animals, as well as supporting the new Threatened Species Strategy.
“A reduction of pest animals and weeds will lead to more productive and profitable industries, and benefit native wildlife and the environment,” she said.
The government said the money is the latest in an investment of $330 million between 2014 and 2025 to combat pest animals and weeds.
Heather Channon, National Feral Pig Management Co-ordinator, said the money will help fund the first national Feral Pig Action Plan which has been in place since May 2021.
Feral pigs are estimated to cost agriculture more than $100 million every year through the damage they cause, with almost half of Australia’s landmass experiencing feral pig problems.
“Feral pigs cause damage through preying on newborn lambs, reducing crop yields, damaging fences and watercourses. They compete with stock for feed and also present threats through disease transmission,” she told AAP.
Pigs also cause significant environmental damage to ecosystems, biodiversity and habitat.
“They’re a really serious pest in Australia and one of the worst pests that we have,” Ms Channon said.
Nationally it is estimated feral animals cause $800 million worth of damage to agriculture while weeds cost more than $4 billion in production losses and control activities.
It is estimated the cost to the environment is even higher.
(Australian Associated Press)