Managing the pest animals and weeds that hurt farmers’ pockets

By Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud MP

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud MP.

Pests and weeds are unfortunate realities that cost farmers money.

The bill for weed control is around $4 billion a year including production losses. Pests cost up to $800 million.

It’s a huge drain on the rural economies where about $18,000 is spent on the average farm every year keeping weeds under control.

Australia has about 3200 introduced plants. Around 500 are weeds.

At least 73 introduced animals now have feral populations, including 25 mammal species, 20 birds, four reptiles, one amphibian and at least 23 freshwater fish.

The stats show the size of the problem but the toll on the environment is harder to measure.

Farmers are waking up to a trail of destruction left by wild dogs on sheep flocks and Landcarers find themselves battling weeds invading native habitat.

It would be easy to give up—especially when weeds are growing resistant to chemicals.

But the Coalition Government is committed to fight harder and smarter. As pests and weeds adapt, we’ve got to find new ways to take back control. There’s too much at stake.

Even though pest and weed management is the responsibility of landholders and the states, the Coalition Government is making big investments.

We’ve invested $76 million through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to tackle pests and weeds, with $25.8 million going to drought-affected areas.

We put an extra $30.3 million over four years from next year for established pest and weed control tools and another $15 million this year for communities in drought.

Pests and weeds are an even bigger threat in a drought where farmers struggle to keep them under control and when livestock is under stress. They are a drag on drought recovery.

We’ve set up our command centre in this war. We’re investing $20 million in the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.

The centre is running 21 new projects to help prevent, detect and manage invasive pests.

This includes a project to investigate how viruses can be used to control rabbits—one of the most costly pests for Aussie farmers.

We’re developing technology to get pests and weeds off our land.

The Coalition Government will keep working alongside our farmers and land managers as we take on pests and weeds together.

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