Fact Sheet: Locust Management on Public Land
Australian Plague Locusts naturally inhabit the far north west of New South Wales and adjacent areas of Queensland and South Australia, an area known as the channel country.
They are pests of pastures, field crops, and vegetables in New South Wales and southern Queensland and infrequently in South Australia and Victoria.
Although they are not native to Victoria, locusts may be seen in varying concentrations from season to season around regional Victoria.
In any given year, it is possible that locust swarms could migrate into Victoria from interstate and land managers should be aware of the potential threat they pose.
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is the lead agency for coordinating a response to the locust threat in Victoria.
Relevant State Government departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Parks Victoria (PV) will support DEDJTR.
Locust outbreaks may occur on, and affect, both private and public land. While landowners are responsible for treating locusts on their land, some public land managed by DEDJTR and PV may also require spraying.
Who is responsible for treating locusts in Victoria?
All landholders have a responsibility to treat locusts on their land.
Private landholders and land managers are responsible for treating locusts on their own property.
DEDJTR, in collaboration with Parks Victoria, will treat locusts on public land.
Councils are responsible for managing locusts on council managed land which could include road side reserves and rights of way for which they are responsible. VicRoads would also take responsibility for their roadsides (generally the major roads and highways). Other areas of land could also include recreation reserves and sporting facilities for which they are responsible (depending on local management arrangements within a community).
The Australian Plague Locust Commission may treat locusts in Victoria if they pose a threat to neighbouring states (and vice versa).
DEDJTR will work with all public and private landholders, and if required, the Commission, to ensure a coordinated approach to locust treatment across Victoria.
What is the best time to treat locusts?
The most effective time to spray locusts with insecticides is when they are in the 'hopper' stage of their life cycle and before the adults can fly. This is around two weeks after hatching.
Where and what areas of public land will be sprayed?
Spraying may be undertaken where there are bands or high densities of locust hoppers on public land.
Where necessary, biological (fungal) pesticides may be used in sensitive areas or to protect identified environmental assets. All spraying will be done in accordance with the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control and Use) Act 1992.
Generally speaking, locusts do not occur in dense vegetation such as in many parks, reserves and forests in high densities, so these areas are less likely to need treatment.
Who decides what public land will be sprayed?
DEDJTR will follow an agreed policy as to where spraying may occur on public land. The policy will also apply to private land with identified high environmental importance. PV staff will also provide land management, environmental advice and support to the incident management teams.
What method of spraying will be used on public land?
Where spraying of locusts on public land is needed, spraying will be done using either aircraft or on-ground equipment. Techniques used depend on the size of the area, accessibility, vegetation, environmental values and weather conditions.
Coordination of contractors spraying on public land will be organised through DEDJTR.
Will public land, particularly parks and forests, be closed during spraying?
Temporary closures will be required as spraying is completed, regular updates and exact locations will be regularly provided to the community before and during such spraying.
For more information on locusts, visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/locusts or phone our Locust Hotline on 1300 135 559.