News & Media

Regional declared plant and pest management to be transformed

Released on

Released on:
Tuesday, 23. June 2015 - 15:45

The response of regional Western Australia to pest and disease threats has been strengthened with the development of a project to coordinate and transform regional management of widespread and established declared weeds and pests.

The new Department of Agriculture and Food project Transforming Regional Biosecurity Response is a part of the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project made possible by Royalties for Regions.

Transforming Regional Biosecurity Response project manager Tim Thompson said the $3.3 million biosecurity project was expected to provide environmental, economic and social benefits through regional community-coordinated pest management.

“Greater community involvement and responsibility in the management of declared pests will be encouraged, commencing with work to identify and resolve the barriers to community engagement and adoption for effective pest management,” Mr Thompson said.

“We will be working closely with community and agriculture industry groups to engage them in biosecurity activities that focus on the management of regionally-significant declared pests.

“The strength of the community-coordinated model lies in enabling adjacent landholders to cooperate at a landscape scale under community leadership on the management of the pests and diseases they consider significant.

“Biosecurity groups will be supported by government through capacity development.”

Biosecurity groups formed through the project were expected to progress towards self-reliance as Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBG’s).

An advantage of RBGs is that under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act), funds raised through a declared pest rate are matched equally by the State Government for groups to implement operational plans.

RBGs also provide opportunities for communities and industry to partner with organisations including State and local government agencies to share responsibility and coordinate the control of declared pests across the landscape.

Under the BAM Act, five RBGs have been formed in the Rangelands and one in the agricultural region. 

The project will cover agricultural land from Geraldton in the north to Esperance in the south east.

The department’s capacity to transform regional response had been enhanced with recent staff appointments, including biosecurity officers Bruno Rikli in the South West, and Brendan Murphy in Northam.

Belinda O’Brien has been recruited to manage the community engagement component of the project. She is looking forward to collaborating on the successful establishment of high-functioning biosecurity groups that covered the State’s agricultural production area.

More information about the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project is available on the department website.


Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Dionne Tindale, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937