Western Downs Regional Council’s innovative program to combat pest species has received nation-wide recognition after winning one of the top gongs as part of this year’s Local Government Professionals Australia National Federation Awards.
Council’s ‘Shaping Stronger, More Resilient and Productive Communities’ project has taken out the Community Service Award title at yesterday’s National Federation Awards, an Australia-wide program which showcases innovative solutions, and the delivery of quality services and better outcomes among Australia’s 537 local Councils.
Council’s Spokesperson for Planning, Environment and Agribusiness Councillor Andrew Smith said the award demonstrated Council’s agile and responsive commitment to pest management.
“The Western Downs is home to a diverse agricultural sector and beautiful natural landscapes, so it’s important Council works to ensure pest species are controlled as effectively as possible,” Cr Smith said.
“Over the past few years, Council has been continuing to improve its pest management systems and has even introduced the use of artificial intelligence to help track pest animals and used the data to target pest activity.
“Since 2014, Council has committed a total of $1.5 million towards coordinated pest management activities across 2 million hectares, collaborating with 1,500 landholders, industry, and government bodies.
“These efforts have resulted in the erection of 130 kilometres of exclusion fencing and the removal of over 30,000 feral pigs, 10,000 wild dogs, and 1,500 hectares of priority weeds.
“The aim of the program was to monitor pest activity to better evaluate control programs and to inform landholders. The capture and analysis of data now occurs in live time and land managers can receive notifications when species of interest are captured on camera.
“We are the only Council in Australia to deliver this innovative program and this recognition is a huge accomplishment for Council and the Western Downs.”
Western Downs Regional Council Acting Chief Executive Officer Jodie Taylor said she was extremely proud of the ongoing dedication of the Rural Services team stating that it was absolutely fantastic that the team had been recognised at such a distinguished level.
“Council takes great pride in our natural assets and environment, so to have our pest management program recognised at a nation-wide level is an incredible achievement and I commend every person involved in the delivery of this project,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Here in the Western Downs, it truly is the people that make it and it is the ongoing efforts of some of these people which all contribute to making a difference to our amazing region.”