Saturday, October 04, 2008

look at the fine print

This week the state government announced a program under Future Farming funding to assist councils tackle invasive species by providing grants to manage weeds on local roads.

I always welcome funding to tackle weeds, however as always the devil is in the detail and it is no different with this announcement. Weed nasties like blackberry and brooms are covered under this program however weeds such as ivy, pittosporum, cotoneaster, agapanthus, honeysuckle, wandering trad, creeping buttercup, sycamores and a myriad of other yarra ranges weed nasties are not included.

The funding is specific in that it is “to manage regionally prohibited and regionally controlled weeds”, most of our weeds do not fall under this definition.

Doing my bit to tackle weeds on my property, the Shire's Green Waste Wheelie bin is a great way to dispose of environmental weeds. One of my achievements as the Lyster Ward Councillor has been the introduction of the Green Waste Bins in the Shire.

Weeds are one of the biggest threats to our environment in the Dandenong Ranges, however our weeds are environmental weeds, not agricultural weeds. This funding is specifically aimed at agricultural weeds, the program will be a great move forward for our rural municipalities but unfortunately for Yarra Ranges we really need a different criteria to access funding to help with our weed problem.

If I am re-elected in November I will fight for more funding to tackle the weed crisis in the Dandenong Ranges. The weed situation has become explosive and we need to act before the problem is too big for anyone to solve. We all have weeds and everyone can play a part in tackling the problem. It will take a whole of community and government response if we are really going to make headway tackling the weed problem.

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