Strategic review to weed out $1.2b farming menace
A MAJOR strategic review of weed management in NSW was announced this week.
Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson asked Dr John Keniry, commissioner for natural resources to review weed management, including existing regulation, governance and other inter-governmental agreements for biosecurity.
"The creation of Local Land Services (LLS) and the launch of the NSW Biosecurity Strategy provide an ideal opportunity to review weed management in NSW and how we can better support farmers and land managers to tackle problem weeds," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"Weeds are a menace for rural NSW, robbing our farmers of some $1.2 billion in productivity each year."
She said the Government had allocated $10.8 million to weed management this financial year through the Weeds Action Program and the Weed Innovation Management Fund.
"Weed management was a key issue raised at the community workshops conducted as part of the development of LLS.
"I told farmers at these workshops that we were committed to having a closer look at weed management.
"I recognise the significant resources and effort currently dedicated to weed management in NSW from a range of bodies; especially local government but also private landholders and NSW Government agencies.
"This review provides an opportunity to ensure this effort is undertaken in a regionally co-ordinated and efficient manner.
"This means working across all tenures - public and private - and prioritising all our resources so that we reduce the productive losses as a result of weeds," she said.
Ms Hodgkinson said she has asked Dr Keniry to establish a steering committee - which will hold its first meeting this week - to ensure the terms of reference of the review are met and that stakeholder input is properly considered.
The steering committee will consist of councillor Reg Kidd, chair of the Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee; Dr Bruce Christie, executive director of Biosecurity NSW, Department of Primary Industries; and Bob Conroy from the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Landholders and other stakeholders will be invited to have their say as part of planned public consultation later in the year.
NSW Farmers welcomed the announcement of a major strategic review of weed control in NSW.
Mitchell Clapham from NSW Farmers said the association had consistently called for a strategic approach to weed control across the state and it was a good sign government reached the same conclusion.