Legislative Council: Thursday, July 07, 2022


Aboriginal Lands Weed Management

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (2 June 2022).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for her question and provide the following response:

This program is building capacity of Aboriginal land managers to control weeds of national significance and other high priority established weeds. The program is two years and federally funded.

There are 540,000 hectares of freehold Aboriginal land in South Australia, covering about 6 per cent of the state. These lands have experienced degradation from several problematic Weeds of National Significance, including African Boxthorn, Opuntioid Cacti and Athel Pine.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions has implemented its Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to create opportunities for Aboriginal people in primary industries and regional development, aligning biosecurity outcomes to local community needs.

The objectives of the Reconciliation Action Plan are aligned to Healthy Country plans, which are in place for Aboriginal land throughout South Australia.

By training and accrediting Aboriginal people in weed control and safe handling of herbicides, this new weeds program will achieve some of the objectives of the action plan and Healthy Country plans.

Consultation is underway with delivery organisations such as the Aboriginal Lands Trust, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and Landscape Boards, along with Aboriginal councils, organisations and corporations. The program is aiming to be implemented on Aboriginal lands across the state, including the APY lands.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions is delivering this program, requiring that they are strategic about the lands and communities where the program will bring the most community benefits.

The coordinator for this program has been assisting Aboriginal land managers to prioritise sites for weed control by holding planning workshops on Country.

At some sites the coordinator for this program has run weed control training workshops and exercises with Aboriginal rangers and community members, followed by ongoing advice on best practice weed control techniques and emerging control technologies.

Weed management plans have been compiled for some sites utilising local knowledge to assess risks of weed invasion from other areas.

One public forum has been held in Port Augusta to determine weed threats to public amenity and biodiversity.