Sunday, January 30, 2011

war on weeds - this time it's blackberries

report from the roundtable - 25 jan

Report from the roundtable is my regular roundup of items of interest from the Yarra Ranges council meeting. It's a reflection of my views, debates and outcomes of various issues that come up at Yarra Ranges.

I have been very concerned by the explosive nature of weeds this growing season, in particular blackberries. Residents have been contacting me, concerned that people are letting their land degrade and get swamped by these shocking weeds. My concern has led to frustration in the knowledge that once a letter has been sent by the DPI requesting the landowner to clean up their property there is no follow up action or enforcement to compel people to take action on their blackberries and locals know it.

I wanted to raise the issue with the new Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, The Hon Peter Walsh MP. The DPI desperately need funding put into this area and failing that there needs to be some enforcement options available to local government.

I moved a motion to write to the Minister requesting the amendment of legislation to allow local government to enforce weed management as well as requesting stronger action by government to tackle this problem.

In speaking to the motion I talked about education being part of the mix, but when education has failed sadly enforcement needs to be the fall back. The DPI are so very under resourced there is little they can do but write a letter, it has to change. Of course part of dealing with the blackberry problem means that council has to lead by example and clear our own land of this shocking weed and I hoped councillors would sign off on a proper budget allocation to deal with the problem.

Council is also inviting the Minister on a tour so he can see first hand the impact of weeds on our municipality.

I'm pleased to say Councillors supported the motion unanimously.

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