Agricultural White Paper Project - Weeds and Rabbits
It is estimated that invasive weeds and animals on private land in Victoria cost $1 billion per year (VAGO, 2010). Collaborative and coordinated approaches are required for the successful management of these species.
Funding received from the Australian Government's Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper has enabled Agriculture Victoria to introduce a 'systems approach' to understand and improve the management of rabbits, blackberry, serrated tussock and gorse.
A citizen-focused approach
Management of established invasive species is a complex problem. These species occur on vast spatial scales across the state, and are influenced by many ecological, economic and social factors. There is no potential for their eradication from the landscape.
As part of modernising our approach to biosecurity, recent reforms have emphasised a citizen-focused approach, underpinned by more collaborative working arrangements between community and government.
It recognises that for weed and rabbit management to become more effective, we need to build the capacity of those who undertake control activities, coordinate community groups and develop policies and support programs people – to help them to work better together.
Community participation and empowerment
The CPMGs have been working with community members for years. The project builds on their experience and networks. Funded from 2016-19, it will invest in projects that support collaboration, capacity building and knowledge sharing.
The project began by talking with all relevant stakeholders – CPMGs, farmers, Landcare, regulators, policy and industry – to understand how they make decisions when dealing with rabbits and weeds, and what influences these decisions. This illustrated how each of these groups work together, and identified a number of gaps and opportunities.
Participants then worked together to develop ideas for dealing with these issues. The four CPMGs have further developed these into new projects that will strengthen community capacity and confidence to take action on weeds and rabbits. These will be delivered over 2018-19.
Changes across the system
Along with investing to strengthen community-led action through the CPMGs, there are other opportunities for improvements at a system-wide scale. Three projects identified in the initial community engagement process will work across the CPMGs and government to improve:
- sharing, particularly through digital mechanisms;
- of different demographics;
- of the effectiveness of enforcement to support community-led action.
The project is funded until 2019. For more information on these activities, subscribe to the project's newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victorian Auditor-General's Office Report: Control of invasive plants and animals in Victoria's parks.