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Drought-affected farmers in Wellington Shire will benefit from a half million dollar initiative to help them win the battle against pest animals and weeds.

Local MP Darren Chester has announced the shire has secured $536,000 in Federal Government funding to rollout a multi-faceted strategy to help farmers to protect their properties from unwanted invaders.

“Managing pests and weeds is a significant cost for farmers. Agricultural businesses spend an average of nearly $25,000 each year on pest animal and weed control,” Mr Chester said.

“Anything we can do now to help our farmers control pest animals, such as rabbits, deer, wild dogs and feral pigs, and invasive weeds like blackberries and serrated tussock is an investment in the future prosperity of our farming sector.”

Council Mayor Alan Hall said Wellington was proud to be one of only three councils in Victoria to secure the funding to assist its drought-affected farmers.

“Unfortunately, farmers often struggle with pest plants and animals following a drought and Wellington is no exception,” Cr Hall said.

“This funding will enable our staff to implement a two-year program to assist farmers to plan, prevent and recover from the drought and increase their farm profitability through the management of pests and weeds.”

Wellington Shire Council’s program is designed to help communities, producers and the land to fully recover from drought. It includes

  • grants to help farmers control weeds and pest animals
  • helping farmers to develop a weed and pest management plan, then assisting them to undertake priority actions
  • workshops to help farmers to better manage weeds and pest animals and prevent future outbreaks
  • training for farmers to be fully accredited in the safe and effective use of chemicals for weed and pest control, and
  • the shire undertaking roadside weed and pest animal control work to complement that done by landowners under the program in areas where roadside control programs are not in place.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Wellington Shire was among 33 local government areas to share $10 million distributed under round two of the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.

“We are delivering on another election commitment to help farmers and landholders manage pests and weeds at a time when they are least able to do so,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This program aims to reduce the detrimental economic, social and environmental effects associated with pest animals and weeds during drought.”

Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program funding is used by local councils to support farmers and land managers reduce the impacts of pest animals and weeds on agriculture and the environment, and to stimulate local economies and employment.

Last year, East Gippsland Shire secured $343,000 under round one of the pest and weed program to help protect livestock from wild dogs.  The shire provided rebates towards the cost of installing new fencing and upgrading existing fences to protect cattle, sheep and other farm animals.

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