The funding arrangement was based on the understanding between government and industry that it was unrealistic to expect landholders to adequately control declared pests on pastoral leases due to the sheer size of each lease. Funding from the APR, with matching government contribution, was used to help landholders control declared pests through coordinated programs such as aerial baiting for wild dog control, culling feral donkeys and declared plant control.
The Agriculture Protection Board (APB) managed the funding and delivered on-ground pest control services until 1996, when it amalgamated with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). Following the amalgamation, funding was managed by DPIRD under a Memorandum of Understanding, with on-ground services delivered through DPIRD's Invasive Species program.
The APB was supported by a structure of Zone Control Authorities (ZCAs) who provided advice on pest species and recommended APRs on a regional scale.
Following the repeal of the Agriculture Protection Board (APB) Act in 2010 and the implementation of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act), pastoral ZCAs were abolished, paving the way for a transition to Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs).
Inclusion of RBGs in the BAM Act provides a mechanism to support the transition from community dependency on Government to lead, manage and control invasive pests to a partnership model where both parties negotiate and agree on priorities and the use of resources.
From 1 July 2010, five RBGs started operating in the pastoral areas in WA (see map above). The objectives of the pastoral RBGs are:
- To foster the control of declared pests throughout the area via the formulation, implementation, and review of appropriate management plans and programs.
- To encourage integration, coordination and general collaboration of all area stakeholders in pest management matters.
- To promote the adoption of sound biosecurity practices throughout the area generally.
The BAM Act also provides for RBGs to be established in agricultural regions.