Collective pest action boost

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A new community grants program targeting established weeds and pests will be top priority for a new Victorian advisory board.

Biosecurity Victoria executive director Katherine Clift announced on 12 October the new 10-member Victorian Invasive Pest Advisory Board (VIPA).

Established weeds and pests are widespread and beyond eradication from Victoria.

This includes species such as rabbits, blackberries, gorse and serrated tussock.

VIPA will promote collective action and shared responsibility as the key to managing established weeds and pests in line with Victoria’s Biosecurity Statement.

This recognises that government, industry, and community all have a role to play in preventing and managing the harms caused by weeds and pests.

“The board will co-design the new grants program, aimed at building community capacity and capability to support place-based management of established weeds and pests across Victoria,” Dr Clift said.

“VIPA allows us to bring together the knowledge, skills and views of people from community, industry and government to decide together where to put our resources, which risks to combat, and how we can adapt to changing conditions.

“We welcome the appointment of Andrew Maclean as independent chair, bringing over 20 years of strategic leadership experience in natural resource management.

“Andrew is a highly qualified CEO and has significant experience working with a range of external stakeholders, including industry, community, and not-for-profit organisations across Australia.”

The new community grants program is funded through the Victorian Government’s 2023-2024 ‘Backing Victoria’s Producers’ budget initiative, with $5 million available over the next four years.

The VIPA members are:

• Lyn Coulston, Victorian Blackberry Taskforce chair

• Ron Cosgrave, Victorian Gorse Taskforce chair

• Gerald Leach, Victorian Rabbit Action Network chair

• Lance Jennison, Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party chair

• Sarah Corcoran, community representative

• Roger Wilkinson, community representative

• Steven Lynch, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action

• Ben Fahey, Parks Victoria

• Sharyn Williams, Agriculture Victoria

• Andrew Maclean, independent chair

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