Landholders are urged to join the fight against pest plants as part of Sunshine Coast Council’s renewed commitment to weed them out.
Council today (22 July) endorsed a 12-month Biosecurity Surveillance Program at its Ordinary Meeting.
Council officers will proactively monitor the extent of invasive plants across the region and partner with landholders to manage target species on their properties.
Those being targeted include groundsel bush, cat’s clawcreeper, fireweed, giant rat’s tail grasses and salvinia.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said landholder support was critical to the program’s success.
“Proactively managing invasive plants within our region takes a team effort with both private and publicly owned property included within the surveillance target area,” Cr Cox said.
“Results from the survey program last year found that 28 per cent of properties proactively inspected contained invasive weeds.
“Not only do pest plants replace more productive grasses, they invade and compete with pastures, destroy native wildlife habitat.
They also affect livestock that eat the plants, all of which can have a huge economic impact on our farmers.
“Council’s Biosecurity Surveillance Program involves council officers assisting landholders with education materials and equipment to help manage invasive plants on their property which will help landholders meet their legal obligations.
“The approach to proactively educate and empower landholders has seen positive results in the past 12 months with less than one per cent of properties requiring council intervention.”
During the 12-month program, council officers will inspect privately owned properties equal to or greater than 4000m2 within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area.
The program will run from 6 September 2021 to 5 September 2022.
Officers will visit properties to determine invasive plant presence, monitor the effectiveness of control measures being undertaken, collect samples and provide information and education to help property owners control invasive weeds.
The program will be conducted at Balmoral Ridge, Diamond Valley, Beerwah, Mt Mellum, Bells Creek, Crohamhurst, North Maleny, Flaxton, Dulong, Eerwah Vale, Verrierdale, Belli Park, Peachester, Montville, Obi Obi and Mapleton.
Properties previously known to harbour invasive plants may also be surveyed for ongoing compliance.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, landholders must manage invasive plants on land that is under their control.
A range of resources are available including pest plant identification manuals, a smartphone application and fact sheets.
“It is important that landholders become aware of invasive weeds and how to identify and control them,” Cr Cox said.
“If spotted early, landholders have a much better chance of eradicating them.
“Controlling a few plants before they get a chance to build up a seed bed is much easier than having to deal with a large infestation and council officers will partner with landholders.”