​Joint Media Release

Ag White Paper delivers $500,000 to combat pest animals & weeds in WA

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
WA Minister for Agriculture and Food, Ken Baston

2 November 2015

The Australian Government will provide $500,000 to the Western Australian Government to help drought affected communities combat wild dogs and pest weeds. 

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries, Ken Baston, said the Australian Government had responded to a Western Australian Government request for funding for two projects to tackle wild dogs and pest weeds of national significance. 

Minister Joyce said through Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper funding, the Western Australian Government will allocate funds to support the WA wild dog action plan and a proposed project related to the containment of prickle bush. The focus will be on the Gascoyne. 

"Wild dogs are estimated to cost our agriculture sector up to $66 million per year in livestock losses, disease transmission and controls—and that doesn't account for the distress and frustration wild dog attacks can cause," Minister Joyce said. 

"The impacts of wild dogs are felt even more keenly during drought, putting additional pressure on farm productivity and profitability at a time when farm operations are already under strain. 

"The wild dog exclusion fencing project is consistent with Western Australia's commitments to the National Wild Dog Action Plan.

"This is why, through the Ag White Paper, we are committed to delivering real, practical support to communities doing it tough because of drought."

Minister Baston said the funding would provide a boost to communities in the Gascoyne region in responding to priority pests and weeds. 

"We will be working with these communities and the Federal Government to ensure this funding delivers maximum benefits on the ground," he said. 

"Funding allocations will also be guided by the Western Australian wild dog action plan, which is due to be delivered before the end of the year." 

Minister Joyce said that the Australian Government would work with the Western Australian Government to engage stakeholders in affected areas to achieve a speedy implementation of these projects. 

"These projects will capitalise on local knowledge and pest management skills with the Gascoyne region and will include close consultation with key stakeholders and landholders," Minister Joyce said.

"We understand that many producers across Western Australia are feeling the impacts of drought, and we are committed to ensuring they have access to real, practical support when they need it most. 

"We're already delivering on our commitment under the Ag White Paper to invest $2.97 billion to support farmers and rural communities to strengthen drought preparedness and risk management, and another $100 million in total to pest and weed management and eradication. 

"This commitment includes providing additional community mental health and family support; more funding for Rural Financial Counselling Service providers in drought affected areas; and projects to help farmers manage risk by providing more localised, accurate climate forecasts, and to help them evaluate options for insurance and risk management." 

For more information on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.  

The Australian Government has a range of support measures available for farmers and rural communities experiencing drought and other hardship, including income support through the Farm Household Allowance, and free financial counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service. For more information, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.