Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost

NEW TECHNOLOGIES such as automated traps, thermal sensors and weed spraying robots will share in part of a new $10.5 million funding boost to strengthen Australia’s management of pest animals and weeds.
Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost Pest programme given a $10.5 million boost

GOING HIGH TECH: The funding will see innovative technological solutions to pest control used. Image: iStock.com/allanswart

Kristy Moroney

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, who announced the funding on 2 May said the projects were funded under the Control Tools and Technologies for Established Pest Animals and Weeds Programme.

“The government is funding 23 projects put forward by universities, state, territory and local governments, research organisations, natural resource management groups and a private company,” Joyce said. 

“The funding will be used to develop technologies such as herbicide spraying devices, automated traps and thermal aerial imaging for pest monitoring and optimise the use of chemicals, biological control agents,” he said.

“These new technologies will help to strengthen the fight against pests such as wild dogs, rabbits, foxes, feral pigs and donkeys and improve our management of established weeds, such as blackberry, gorse, prickly acacia, rubber vine, parkinsonia, mesquite and Chilean Needle grass.”

It has been estimated by the Department of Agriculture that pest animals cost Australia around $620 million a year in production losses and weeds cost an estimated $4 billion a year in control costs and production losses. 

Next generation automation technologies for the control of wild dogs by Invasive Animals Limited in the ACT will develop 'Intelli-Traps'. 

The company will develop devices that can see, think and act to target specific pest animals, including a sentinel automated baiting station for wild dogs, which will result in less labour intensive work for land managers.

“A recent survey undertaken by ABARES and funded through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper found that agricultural businesses spent an average of $19,620 a year on managing pest animals and weeds,” the Minister for Agriculture said.

“Going forward, this initiative will ensure our farmers and land managers are on the front foot in the fight against pest animals and weeds to limit the impact they can have on our land, produce and industries.” 

The Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure is a $50 million investment over four years to 2018-19 as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. 

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