Home' The Great Southern Star : September 20th 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - PAGE 41
ing community, Landcare, friends of groups, Bass
Coast, Baw Baw, South Gippsland, and Wellington
shire councils, Parks Victoria, South Gippsland Wa-
ter, DEDJTR, West Gippsland CMA, Phillip Island
Nature Parks and the South Gippsland, Bass Coast
and Yarram Yarram Landcare networks, as well as
pest plant and animal control contractors.
Over the last 10 years, the taskforce has been
a key driver shaping pest plant and animal control
policy in Gippsland.
The 2011 meeting with then State Minister for
Agriculture Peter Walsh resulted in resourcing
for Landcare Networks in Bass Coast and South
Gippsland to help with department compliance and
enforcement on 40 properties for recalcitrant land-
holders failing to adequately control regionally con-
trolled noxious weeds.
The taskforce has also provided feedback into
state legislation and Regional Invasive Plant and
This advocacy has been matched with 10 years
of weed information and education events.
Taskforce and Triholm Landcare group member,
Wilma Mackay, says the group has improved land-
holder knowledge of pest plant and animal control.
“In order to capture as many people as possible,
we have delivered this education through a range of
different ways; through locally specific fact sheets,
articles in local newspapers, weed control calendars,
our website and stalls at a number of events across
West Gippsland such as Farm World,” she said.
Topics vary depending on current landholder
suggestions and needs.
“We have promoted information on a wide range
of topics from bridal creeper rust spore, rabbit con-
trol, alternative blackberry control, ragwort control,
rabbit cook offs, deer control for hunters and a myna
birds trapping program,” Mrs Mackay said.
“The myna bird trapping program was instigated
by the taskforce in 2012 and involved subsidising
the cost of traps and providing training on their use.
Importantly, the taskforce has helped deliver real,
on-ground works in the region.
Thanks to funding from the Victorian Landcare
Grants, the taskforce has provided financial support
to local landholders to undertake training in safe
and effective control of weeds and incentives for on
ground weed control.
In the last two years, 397.06 hectares of weeds
were controlled through this program.
Without a doubt though, the taskforce’s greatest
success has been its ability to bring a range of differ-
ent stakeholders and agencies together.
“That in itself is priceless.”
For more information, follow the ‘Weeds in West
Gippsland’ Facebook page.
Taskforce tackles weeds
IT ALL began in 2006.
That is when a group of frustrated landholders,
agency and South Gippsland Landcare Network
staff met to talk about the increasing prevalence of
weeds in the region and to express their concerns
over proposed changes to government policy for
At that time, the Victorian Government’s change
in weed control policy meant there was a shifting
focus away from legislative support for the control
of widespread established weeds and resourcing for
landholder information programs.
Additionally, some landholders in the area were
either unequipped or unwilling to deal with weeds
that were spreading onto neighbouring farms.
Wanting to provide a positive, collaborative so-
lution to the problem, those present at this initial
meeting formed the South Gippsland Community
This created a united, grassroots front for pest
plant and animal advocacy, collaboration and edu-
Today, the taskforce has grown from these hum-
ble beginnings to be an influential committee of 45
The taskforce meets four times a year, providing
a space for members to work together to collaborate
and share information and ideas and plan advocacy,
education projects and on ground works.
Members includes representatives from the farm-
By Sarah Vella
THE Victorian Govern-
ment’s decision to in-
troduce mandatory elec-
tronic identification tags
for sheep and goats born
after January 1, 2017 has
Electronic tags for sheep
and goats will be cost neutral
to producers in the first year.
State Government Min-
ister for Agriculture Jaala
Pulford said embracing tech-
nology would help safeguard
Australia’s access to lucrative
“This is yet another ex-
ample of Victoria strengthen-
ing our biosecurity systems
and boosting our world-wide
trade potential,” she said.
However Federal Agricul-
ture Minister Barnaby Joyce
said imposing a sheep tag tax
on Victorian farmers was an
unnecessary cost burden giv-
en the strength of the existing
national NLIS system.
works on a mob-based identi-
fication system given the pro-
portion of the cost of the tag
to the animal is vastly higher
in sheep compared to cattle,”
Might buy: Gary Scanlon from Warragul
and John Mitchell from Koorooman were at
the VLE Leongatha store sale last Thursday,
each looking to buy steers.
Butting heads over
Great price: Kerryn and John Chewe from
Erica decided to bring 23 Angus steers and
heifers to the VLE Leongatha store sale last
Thursday and were thrilled with the result.
“The steers sold above our expectations,”
Ms Chewe said.
Greaves from Koony Natural
Lamb, Koonwarra, said the in-
troduction of mandatory tags
“The current system has
good traceability with a proven
track record while still giving
producers the option of using
electronic identification tags if
they prefer,” Mr Greaves said.
will cost at least
80 cents each
which is 55 cents
dearer than the
current tags, so an
increase of $55
per 100 ewes.”
Mr Greaves said this cost
would be borne by the pro-
ducer as it was not possible to
pass it on.
“We sell approximately 600
lambs per year, as well as up to
50 cull ewes which is an added
cost of approximately $360,”
Mr Greaves said traceabil-
ity of livestock was important
to their farm and the industry.
“It provides assurance to
local and export customers that
the product they are purchas-
ing is as stated on the vendor
declaration form,” he said.
“It also enables a rapid
quarantine program to be put
in place by the government if
an outbreak of foot and mouth
disease ever occurs.”
Ben Hatch from Athlone
runs stud sheep. He said man-
datory tagging and livestock
traceability would have a ben-
efit in the long term.
“An outbreak of disease
would be damaging to both
export and domestic markets,
so the sooner they can stop the
spread of disease, the better,”
Mr Hatch said electronic
tags would be beneficial on a
stud farm, as it would make
recording details of individual
“For terminal lamb breed-
ers or breeding farmers, there
will be little benefit,” he said.
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