THE Victorian government launched a new program to control roadside weeds and pest animals in Bendigo yesterday.
Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell and Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced $7.8 million would be invested statewide into the Roadside Weeds and Pests Programs (RWPP).
The funding will help 56 councils tackle weeds and rabbits along 100,000 kilometres of local roads.
City of Greater Bendigo will receive $148,530 over the next three years to control weeds and pests. Mount Alexander Shire Council will receive a grant of $77,493.
The funding is in response to the Bailey Report on Roadside Weeds and Pests, which found local councils were best placed to tackle weeds and pests on roadsides.
Mr Walsh said the costs of weeds to agriculture was estimated at
$1.2 billion a year.
“Pest plants and animals threaten the environment and can damage agricultural production and many communities look to their council to lead the effort to reduce them,” he said.
“The program will support councils to plan and implement control activities for the long-term management of regionally prohibited and regionally controlled plants and animals on rural roadsides.”
Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum welcomed the program.
“Weeds and animal pests, like rabbits, make themselves at home along many of our local roads and once they take hold it’s very difficult to stop them from taking over neighbouring public and private land.”
Councils will need to use their annual funding allocation to implement an approved plan before June 2013.