Historically, management of widespread pests within Victoria was strongly focused on compliance programs with a reliance on government to enforce legislation so that land managers took responsibility for pests on their land. A sole reliance upon regulatory enforcement has become costly and difficult to resource for species that are widespread. The Community Led Approach has been implemented to allow concerned communities to take ownership of the problem and to take real steps towards effective control without complete reliance upon Government legislative enforcement.
The Community Led Approach was first developed in Victoria with the set up of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party in 1995. The intention of this and later Community Pest Management Groups (such as the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce) was to create a cooperative model of governance between community, government and other key stakeholders (including private landholders) to deal with the threat of a specified pest. These groups are designed to be community-driven and focused on providing a strategic direction for government and community for pest management projects.
The cooperative governance approach to the strategic management of pest species is effective by increasing participation in decision making through involving a wide range of stakeholders, sharing decisions in resource allocation, and increasing the ability for different parties to move forward with a shared understanding and responsibilities.
Increased participation and a wide range of group membership results in a greater understanding of the issues around pest control as well as greater satisfaction in the decisions made. Membership typically consists of a broad range of stakeholder representatives such as:
A central part of this approach is for each of the Community Pest Management Groups to develop a strategy where the relevant group is responsible for coordinating its implementation. These strategies align to relevant National and State strategies concerning the management of these species.
Each Community Pest Management Group is structured to enable coordinated and organised activities relating to the delivery of their strategy such as:
The community led approach is not a perfect solution to every situation but coupled with support from Government so that community led action can be supported with legislative compliance it has proved to be an effective means to manage established weeds in Victoria.