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Invasive Pest Control Scheme delivers huge benefits to Southern Downs protecting environment for future generations

23 September 2019 

Council’s Invasive Pest Control Scheme (IPCS) is delivering huge environmental and economic benefits to the Southern Downs with 415,000 hectares of land on track to be declared pest free by 2030 and the region set to save $96 million over the next 30 years a recent report has found.

Undertaken by AEC Group, the SDRC Invasive Pest Scheme Evaluation provides a Triple Bottom Line impact assessment and measures the effects the IPCS has had on invasive pests and its associated economic, environmental and social benefits to the region. The report measures the success of the IPCS as well as forecasting the benefits it will deliver to the Southern Downs over the next decade.

The report found since the IPCS was implemented in 2017, land with declared pests in the Southern Downs has decreased by a massive 23,815 hectares. The number of land inspections across the region has risen by more than 340 while the amount of properties assessed for pests increased from 73.9 per cent in 2017 to 92.7 per cent in 2018.

On average 26 hectares per property have been treated for pests that were previously infested. If landholders continue to engage with the IPCS over the next 10 years land infested with invasive pests will decrease by approximately 415,000ha by 2030.

The report will assist Council to refine the IPCS as it considers implementing the scheme permanently, with policy reviews every four years.

Councillor for Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability, Cameron Gow said the IPCS gives landholders the tools and support they need to protect their property and their income from the destructive impacts of invasive pests.

 “Working together we can create a pest free future and protect our land for future generations. Caring for our environment means building better futures for our region, our communities and our kids,” Cr Gow said.

“Landholders are now making gains from the economic, environmental and social benefits of the scheme.

“Council took an informed risk introducing the IPCS and it is clear from this review that it was the right choice. Council will remain committed to the IPCS because of the huge benefits it’s delivering to our environment and to our communities. We’re working to protect our environment and to leave a legacy we can all be proud of.”

The IPCS was introduced in 2017 to ensure all landholders were working with Council on active control measures and taking a coordinated approach to reducing the impact of invasive pests on the region’s agricultural industry and environment. A levy is charged to landholders who don’t meet their invasive pest control obligations, to offset the collective costs incurred by all landholders from uncontrolled pests. The funds are invested in strategic pest management projects which benefit the whole region.  

Cr Gow said Council will continue to take a common sense approach to implementing the IPCS when it comes to drought and landholders who are experiencing hardship.

“We understand how drought is impacting our region and we are working with farmers to adapt to the many challenges the region and the environment are facing,” Cr Gow said.

“We’re taking a common sense and practical approach by providing relief, support and advice to farmers, so when good times return we can continue to address the invasive pests affecting our farms, environment and community.”

SDRC is quickly evolving as an industry leader in the pest management space. State and other agencies consulted for the report consider the IPCS’s innovative approach and its applicability to other Local Government Areas progressive and a collective solution for the industry in Queensland and across Australia.

Council is committed to managing pests on its own land and is working closely with the State Government to meet its biosecurity obligations. 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.

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), mail@sdrc.qld.gov.au or drop into the Warwick or Stanthorpe Community Contact Centres.

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