Agriculture Victoria supports community-led action on established weeds and pest animals
The Partnerships Against Pests program
The Partnerships Against Pests program is aimed at expanding collaborative partnerships in the long-term management of established weeds and pest animals in Victoria. It focuses on shared responsibility and a community-led approach to managing established weeds and pest animals. This aligns directly with Strategic Goal 4 in Victoria’s Biosecurity Strategy:
Reduce the impacts of established weeds and pests though local action - Supporting local collective action, bringing together all the players in order to achieve sustainable, long term, whole-of-landscape changes.
It helps Agriculture Victoria to achieve Priority Action #13 from the Strategy:
Enable industry and community-led action to reduce the impact of established weeds and pests.
The impacts of established weeds and pest animals on our landscapes and communities include substantial farm production losses, degradation of our ecosystems, damage to culturally sensitive sites of Victoria’s First Nations people and risking access to international agriculture markets. A recent study by the Australian Bureau for Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates that the cost of management and lost production to Victoria’s agricultural landowners, due to established weeds and pest animals, is $869 million per annum.
The focus of the Partnerships Against Pests Program is on improving and strengthening the current system by:
- Forming the Victorian Invasive Pests Advisory Board (VIPA) where community and government work together to plan and deliver better ways to manage established weeds and pest animals.
- Providing grants to help community groups to plan and deliver education and training programs that provide local and long-term solutions.
- Funding engagement officers to support community groups to develop and delivery place based established weed and pest animal projects
- Funding and supporting Victoria’s four Community Pest Management Groups (CPMGs) - the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce, the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party, and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce
The aim is to help build knowledge and capacity of those who undertake activities to control established weeds and pest animals.
Agriculture Victoria will do this by connecting with Traditional Owner groups, community, government, and industry to help coordinate and support their efforts.
Together we can reduce impacts of established weeds and pest animals through collective biosecurity action.
For more information about grants visit; agriculture.vic.gov.au/support-and-resources/funds-grants-programs
Victorian Invasive Pests Advisory Board
The Victorian Invasive Pests Advisory Board (VIPA) has been formed to promote collective and shared responsibility as the key to managing established weeds and pest animals in line with Victoria’s Biosecurity Strategy.
VIPA brings together the knowledge, skills and views of people from community, industry and government to decide together where to put our resources, which risks to combat, and how we can adapt to changing conditions.
The board will co-design the new Partnership Against Pests grants program, aimed at building community capacity and capability to support local management of established weeds and pests across Victoria.
VIPA provides advice to Agriculture Victoria about the design and delivery of Victoria’s established weeds and pest animal management program to build the skills, knowledge, and abilities of landowners to manage established weeds and pest animals on their land.
The group can do this by:
- providing recommendations on the allocation of funding for community management of established weeds and pest animals across Victoria
- providing a connection between the community and government relating to established weed and pest animal management
- ensuring investments in community management of established weeds and pest animals align with best practice engagement principles
- establishing and monitoring progress towards agreed outcomes for community management of established weeds and pest animal programs in Victoria
- providing advice on best practice in community management of weeds and pest animals.
VIPA includes 10 community leaders, drawn from Victoria’s four Community Pest Management Groups and key parties with interests and responsibilities for the management of established weeds and pest animals. These key parties include community, advocacy groups and public land managers and an independent chair.
The VIPA board members are:
- Andrew Maclean - Independent Chair
- Lyn Coulston - Victorian Blackberry Taskforce Chair
- Ron Cosgrave - Victorian Gorse Taskforce Chair
- Gerald Leach - Victorian Rabbit Action Network Chair
- Lance Jennison - Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party Chair
- Sarah Corcoran - community representative
- Roger Wilkinson - community representative
- Steven Lynch - Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action
- Ben Fahey - Parks Victoria
- Sharyn Williams - Agriculture Victoria
Partnerships Against Pests Grants
The aim of the Partnerships Against Pests grants program is to boost community participation and to build skills in the management of established weeds and pest animals.
The cost of managing established weeds and pest animals for Victorian agricultural landowners is estimated at $869 million per annum. Established weeds and pest animals damage our landscapes, cause substantial production losses, are a risk to international market access, degrade our ecosystems, and damage culturally sensitive sites of Victoria’s First Nations people.
There is a pool of $500,000 available in the 2023-24 financial year to regional and local level organisations. Organisations may apply for grants from $10,000 up to $50,000.
Further funding will be available in the coming years.
Project proposals should support community capability building, strengthen relationships, and facilitate greater cooperation on the management of declared established weeds and pest animals.
Examples of eligible project activities include, but are not limited to:
- workshops, seminars, and demonstrations that improve community capability, capacity, awareness, and technical understanding of established weed and pest animal management
- training and education activities
- field days
- development of communication tools such as websites, mobile apps, tools, and ‘how-to’ treatment videos
- engagement with local and community-based Landcare and/or environmental volunteering groups and networks, particularly in those areas where there is currently very limited engagement.
The Partnerships Against Pests grants program is being funded via the Victorian Government’s 2022-2023 budget commitment of $500,000 over two years to support the delivery of community-led biosecurity programs, and the 2023-24 ‘Backing Victoria’s Producers’ budget initiative of $5 million over four years to support community action to manage established weeds and pests.
The Victorian Invasive Pests Advisory Board will provide advice to Agriculture Victoria in the delivery of this grant program.
Agriculture Victoria will be administering an annual community grant program to boost Victoria’s capacity in the management of invasive pest species until 2026-2027.
For more information this and other on Agriculture Victoria grants programs, visit the funds, grants and programs page.
Agriculture Victoria has three regional engagement officers, one for each of our three regions (Northern, South West and South East). These engagement officers provide advice to help community and stakeholders coordinate efforts to control established weeds and pest animals.
South West region includes the following municipalities: Ararat, Ballarat, Colac Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Geelong, Hepburn, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Moorabool, Moyne, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Warrnambool, West Wimmera, Yarriambiack
South East region includes the following municipalities: Banyule, Bass Coast,Baw Baw, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, East Gippsland, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Latrobe, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Merri-Bek, Monash, Moonee Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, South Gippsland, Stonnington, Wellington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra, Yarra Ranges
Northern region includes the following municipalities: Alpine, Benalla, Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mansfield, Mildura, Mitchell, Moira, Mount Alexander, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Swan Hill, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga
Engagement officers can:
- Provide advice on how to work with your community to manage established weed and pests.
- Provide advice on management of established weeds and pest animals through activities including group workshops and field days.
- Help community groups to engage with potential project partners and community members.
- Help you to access free online resources.
- Promote grant funding opportunities and provide guidance on grant funding proposals.
Agriculture Victoria’s biosecurity officers are also available to provide advice to landowners to control established weeds and pests on their land.
Biosecurity officers can:
- Provide advice to landowners and community members on best practice methods for established weeds and pest animals.
- Help landowners identify established weeds and pests on their land.
- Connect landowners with local and regional community-based organisations who can provide additional support for managing established weeds and pest animals.
- Provide advice to landowners about responsibilities for managing established weeds and pest animals on their properties.
- Support community led programs to help manage landowners whose failure to control weeds and pest animals on their property hinders community efforts.
Review of Community Led Management of Established Pests – Future Directions Report
In 2021, Agriculture Victoria commissioned a review of the current models and arrangements for community involvement in place for Victoria and was provided recommendations for future directions of government activities for managing established pests.
This resulted in the production of the October 2021 Review of Community Led Management of Established Pests – Future Directions Report.
The report includes several recommendations including:
- clarifying program aims
- supporting the establishment/re-establishment of a consultative group consisting of government, industry, and community representatives
- expanding the types of support available to community led action on pests to include supporting Community Pest Management Groups, collaborating with regional communities and industries, and by supporting local activities
- adopting a more strategic approach to funding including input from the proposed consultative group.
Agriculture Victoria has used the review findings develop the Partnerships Against Pests Program. This is a phased reform of established pest management in Victoria.
It is a change initiative designed to build government, industry, and community capabilities, strengthen relationships, and facilitate greater cooperation on established pests.