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Council takes long view on pest management, provides relief to landholders battling drought

6 November 2019

Landholders across the region who are having difficulty meeting their Invasive Pests Control Scheme (IPCS) obligations due to the drought are being called on to contact Council’s Pest Management Team for support and assistance.

Council is working closely with farmers and landholders across the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, by providing them with support, advice and relief where needed for those who are experiencing hardship.

Councillor for Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability, Cameron Gow said Council will continue to take a common sense and practical approach to IPCS and the drought.

“We understand the drought is greatly impacting the Southern Downs and Granite Belt and its agriculture sector. Council understands the issues and we are working with farmers and the community to adapt and respond sensibly to the many challenges our region and our environment are currently facing,” Cr Gow said.

“We want to reassure all landholders Council appreciates priorities have changed and you may not be in a position to undertake control works on invasive pests at the moment.

“I encourage all landholders to please get in touch with Council and its Pest Management team, so we can assist you to resolve any challenges or issues relating to the IPCS. Landholders can contact Council’s Pest Management Team and arrange a property visit at any time.

“The team will continue to provide support, relief and advice to farmers, so when conditions improve, we can continue to address the invasive pests affecting our farms, environment and community in a sensible and practical way.”

At its September General Meeting, Council moved to implement the IPCS as ongoing policy with a review built in every four years. A first for Queensland, the IPCS  was introduced in 2017 following consultation with landholders on finding a more efficient and effective approach to collectively managing the region’s invasive pests, to reduce the significant impacts they were having on the region’s agricultural productivity and the environment.

Cr Gow said despite the challenges of the drought, Council remains committed to the IPCS because of the huge benefits it’s delivering to the region’s farms and agriculture sector, natural environment and communities.

The program has been proven to be delivering huge environmental and economic benefits to the Southern Downs.  A recently commissioned independent triple bottom line cost benefit analysis of the IPCS found an additional 415,000 hectares of land is on track to be declared pest free by 2030, and the region is set to benefit from $96 million over the next 30 years.

“We’re taking the long view on pest management and to the region’s environment to ensure our agriculture industry can continue to thrive,” Cr Gow said.

“Invasive pests not only destroy our native plants and wildlife, they threaten our region’s economy, costing all ratepayers and the agriculture sector millions of dollars every year. It is challenging but we’re working hard to protect the region’s environment and to build a better future for the region – even now, while facing the challenges of this terrible drought.”

Council remains committed to managing pests on its land and is working closely with the State Government to meet its biosecurity obligations. Since it was introduced, the IPCS has supported Council to successfully source and secure more than $2.2 million in government funding for pest management initiatives across the Southern Downs.

“Almost 85 per cent of our region’s landholders now know where to go to access best practice control information for invasive pests. They are telling us that by taking a power in numbers approach to pest management they are beginning to make good gains from the economic, environmental and social benefits of the IPCS,” Cr Gow said.

“If we work together as a community, especially during what is a particularly difficult time, we can continue to protect and add value to our land, our farms and our environment for future generations.”

Landholders can contact Council’s Pest Management Team or arrange a property visit at any time. For more information contact 1300 MY SDRC (1300 697 372), or drop into the Warwick or Stanthorpe Community Contact Centres. Together, we can all work towards a pest free future and protect our land and leave an environmental legacy we can all be proud of.

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