United stand proposed to kill pests

David CharlesworthHarvey-Waroona Reporter

A rate to tackle a range of declared pests was floated by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group at community meetings this month.

The proposed pest rate of $26 a year would be paid to the group by landowners with properties of more than 1ha.

Biosecurity group executive officer Jonelle Cleland said legislation passed by the State Government in 2014 which created biosecurity groups gave them the option of raising a rate which it would match dollar for dollar by the State Government.

“It’s completely the group’s decision to go down that pest rate line or not,” she said.

The biosecurity group held community meetings this month to discuss the rate with landowners in the shires of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Mandurah, Harvey, Waroona and Murray.

“There was a concern that bigger landholders were going to wear the cost and that would not necessarily be fair,” Ms Cleland said.

She said landowners in the region dealt with a number of plant and animal pests which often crossed property boundaries, including cotton bush, rabbits, foxes and feral pigs.

The purpose of the rate would be for the biosecurity group to take a regional approach to pest control by mapping populations of pests – affecting both plant and animal – or helping landowners with eradication on their properties.

Ms Cleland said declared pests were the responsibility of landowners on their own land.

Ms Cleland said the biosecurity group could also help make pest control more affordable by operating on a larger scale.

“For rabbit control we went and bought the calicivirus, that’s $200 a vial,” she said.

“You’re not going to get a landholder go pay $200 for a vial of calicivirus and have to do all the training.”

“Those sorts of things need to be tackled as a community.”

Ms Cleland said the budget on how the rate was spent would be accessible by the community.

“Complete disclosure on that, which I think is great for transparency,” she said.

The rate would also be reviewed annually by the group.

Harvey landowner Wayne Stammers said while he was unsure of how effective the rate would be, it was not much of a cost to bear.

Mr Stammers said he had had a lot of trouble dealing with cotton bush on his 809ha property with the wind bringing in seeds from other properties.

“Unfortunately it keeps reappearing from somewhere, we think from the hills when a wind blows,” he said.

Mr Stammers estimated it could take a landowner 10 years to eradicate it from their property if it germinated.

“Everyone says it is impossible to get rid of yet we’ve got two 70-year-old people who have got rid of it, so it’s not impossible.”

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