Legislative Council: Thursday, July 06, 2023


Kangaroo Island Weeds After Fire Project

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister tell the house about the recent announcement to extend the Kangaroo Island Weeds After Fire Project for another 12 months?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:38): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in Kangaroo Island. As members would be aware, the Kangaroo Island community suffered greatly because of the 2019-20 bushfires on the island, and the rebuild is still ongoing. Members might recall recent updates that I have made in this place relating to the work that has been undertaken to eradicate feral pigs, as well as other work that we have been doing on Kangaroo Island.

Today, I am pleased to be able to update the chamber on another announcement that I made on Kangaroo Island relating to weeds management during our recent country cabinet visit. The Kangaroo Island Weeds After Fire Project will be extended for another 12 months, owing to an additional $185,000 in funding from this state government. This funding is in addition to the over $1.2 million already allocated to the project and will build on the progress already achieved through the Biosecurity Rebuild Project, which was launched in July 2020 in the wake of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.

The cost of weeds to the Australian agriculture industry is more than $4 billion per year. I am sure most in this place can understand how frustrating weeds can be—this time of the year they grow and spread quickly. In the domestic circumstance gardens can quickly become inundated with weeds, but of course this pales in comparison with the damage weeds cause the agriculture sector in South Australia.

As a result of this funding being extended for another 12 months, it will allow landowners to continue the program, which seeks to control a range of established weeds, including Cape tulip, which is a weed particularly toxic to livestock; watsonia, a weed that competes with pasture and native vegetation; bluebell creeper, a weed that hinders movement; and also fire responsive weeds such as Montpellier broom, Cape Leeuwin wattle and tree lucerne.

The continuation of this funding will also mean that landowners will receive assistance in surveillance for new high-risk weeds and identification of suspected weeds on their property, and information about risk management and prioritising control targets. I have previously spoken in this place about the importance of protecting Kangaroo Island's pristine environment for landowners, local residents and visitors, and this program will further help achieve this.

I am also hopeful that this funding will enable landowners to build and consolidate on the success already achieved in weed management on the island and that this additional resourcing will provide additional certainty. I would like to acknowledge the continued advocacy of groups such as AG KI, which have raised with me on several occasions during meetings on the island the importance of continuing programs such as this one.

I would also like to acknowledge my department, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, local farmers and landowners, National Parks and Wildlife and KI Land for Wildlife for the work they have all contributed through the biosecurity rebuild project. It is through those very strong partnerships with multiple stakeholders and interested parties that we do manage to achieve some wonderful things, such as this.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Wortley, enough!

The Hon. H.M. Girolamo: Kick him out.

The PRESIDENT: And the Hon. Ms Girolamo, I don't need your advice.