FARM PEST: Giants Rats Tail Grass affects almost every landholder in the Gympie region. The State Government has decided to reinstate an inquiry into invasive weeds.
FARM PEST: Giants Rats Tail Grass affects almost every landholder in the Gympie region. The State Government has decided to reinstate an inquiry into invasive weeds. Craig Warhurst

Fears this region is losing battle with giant rat's tail

AFTER almost two years of delays the inquiry into invasive weeds will be reinstated following pressure from Gympie MP and shadow agriculture minister Tony Perrett.

Mr Perrett requested the reinstatement of the Parliamentary inquiry which looked at the spread and control of invasive weeds, including on state controlled land.

"Landholders are losing the battle against invasive weeds right across the region,” Mr Perrett said.

"When I raised the inquiry yet again last month the Minister resorted to infantile name calling and excuses that he could do nothing about it.

"Two days after that outburst I decided that if the Minister can't do it at least I will try.

"I wrote to the committee encouraging it to finalise the inquiry and report back to the Parliament.

"I pointed out that the bipartisan inquiry, which I secured in late 2016, was supported by regional Labor members who understood the problem with one raising concerns about the spread of the invasive giant rat's tail grass in Gladstone.

"The committee chair, has now advised me that it will be doing just that.

"The extensive inquiry focussed heavily on the effectiveness of government weed control programs and how different agencies were working together using giant rat's tail grass, prickly acacia, and fireweed as case studies, conducted public hearings, inspected weed-infested properties, investigated treatment and control methods, and met with stakeholders.

"Since then the situation has further deteriorated with the spread of weeds becoming increasingly difficult to contain.

"The inquiry lapsed at the end of 2017, its report was not published, and all that good work would have gone to waste.

"The Minister refused to back rural landowners, hiding behind technicalities about why he wasn't encouraging his Labor Parliamentary colleagues to look at the issue.

"Even if the Minister can't technically direct the committee we are expected to believe that both the committee chair and Minister don't discuss issues.

"Meanwhile almost every landowner in Gympie is afflicted with giant rat's tail grass.

"This was raised at my meeting last month with Gympie Landcare which is concerned that we are losing the battle. 

"The spread of the weed and the cost to control it is now making some rural properties unviable.

"Government needs to know what the full impact of giant rat's tail grass and whether control measures are adequate because it is landowners who are fighting the battle to control this class 2 weed.

"It has to be made abundantly clear about the effectiveness and impact of current control measures because at the moment the Government prefers to see nothing and hear nothing.

"Rural landowners are struggling to stay ahead in the 'war on weeds'.

"They should not be left to solely carry the burden of responsibility.

"The impact of weeds on agriculture, through the direct costs of weed control, reduction in yield and contamination of agricultural products, as well as on nature conservation, tourism and landscape amenity is pervasive,” he said.

Gympie Times


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