Total estimated expenditure on weed and pest animal management by Local and State Government and Regional Natural Resource Management bodies across Queensland is approximately $46.0 million per year and increasing (AEC group 2006). The costs to the environment through land and water degradation, compromised bio-diversity and interference to human health and recreation are impossible to value.
TRC has a responsiblity to minimise the impact of pest plants and animals that threaten the local ecosystems and impose high annual costs on our agricultural industries state wide. Staff are active in the control of pest plants and animals throughout the local government area, but recognise that improved coordination of effort is necessary by community, government and industry in order to further reduce the impacts.
The Land Protection (Pest & Stock Route Management) Act 2002 requires local government to develop, adopt, and implement local pest management plans as part of an integrated planning framework for managing pest plants and animals across the state. The general principles of planning, prevention and partnerships underpin the process in developing the plan as well as the actions identified in the agreed strategies.
Council’s local area pest management plan links community expectations with agreed actions and evaluation, and is consistent with Councils Corporate and Operational Plans, state strategies, guidelines, plans and legislation.
Responsibilities of Council
When it comes to managing pest weeds and feral animals, TRC is responsible for:
- Ensuring that declared plants and declared animals are controlled within Council area as outlined in Part 5 of the Land Protection (Pests & Stock Route Management) Act 2002
- Preventing the introduction and spread of declared plants and animals within this local government area
- Enforcing relevant provisions of the Land Protection (Pest & Stock Route Management) Act 2002
Responsibilities of landowners
Under Part 8 of the Act, there is an obligation for landowners to undertake certain activities in relation to pest plant and animal management. As indicated in the Act, landowner obligations include:
- A landowner must take reasonable steps to keep land free of class 1 and class 2 pests (unless they hold a declared pest permit allowing the pests to be kept on the land), when it is:
- the owner’s land
- unfenced land comprising part of a road or stock route that adjoins or is within the owner’s land
- other land that is fenced in with the owner’s land
- the bed, banks and water of a watercourse on the owner’s land
- the bed, banks and water to the centreline of a watercourse forming a boundary, or part of a boundary, of the owner’s land
The following animals are considered to be pests in the TRC area:
- Feral pigs
- Feral and wild dogs, including dingoes
- Feral deer
Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) are a major pest animal in the Wet Tropics area of far north Queensland. Pigs damage the natural environment and pose a major threat to the conservation values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. They cause significant losses to agricultural enterprises in the region, and harbour and spread diseases affecting native animals, stock and humans.
Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a declared pest under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 which landholders are required to control on their properties.
Whilst Council Officers do not have the capacity to provide property inspections, information on useful strategies is available here.
TRC also endorsed a fact sheet to assist landholders with rabbit control which includes information on the most effective controls including a combination of habitat destruction, baiting and biological controls.
Some of the worst weeds found in our native bushlands have escaped from gardens. When invasive plants escape from gardens they can reproduce and aggressively invade natural habitats, crowding out and threatening native plants.
Thirty introduced plants species were identified as current or potential pests to one or more of the various land uses in the TRC area. Of these, the pest plants with the highest priority rating were included in Council’s Pest Management Plan. The greatest management effort is put into the control of Parthenium Gamba Grass, Navua Sedge (Cyperus aromaticus), Giant Sensitive Plant, Sicklepod, Fireweed and Hymenachne.
Landholder incentive program
A 300 litre Quik Spray unit is available for loan to facilitate weed management on private land, in order to protect the integrity of the area. This project assists landholders and farmers to manage the World Heritage Area boundary. For more information on the Quik Spray service, contact Council on 1300 362 242.