Media Release

Good investment is not a rabbit warren

25 March 2014

A new report has found that existing biological control of the rabbit population is saving Australian agriculture over $1 billion every year.

Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said that the Australian Government was committed to improving productivity and profits for Australian farmers when he announced the release of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre report, Benefits of Rabbit Biocontrol in Australia.

“With rabbit numbers on the rise, these figures demonstrate the importance of research and development investments that provide no-nonsense benefits to farmers as well as improving environmental outcomes,” Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said the Australian Government was now investing in the largest rabbit control research program in nearly 20 years through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.

“This report shows that new rabbit biocontrol technologies being developed through this research program have the potential to increase agricultural productivity by up to $840 million over 15 years,” said Minister Joyce.

Minister Joyce said that better management of feral animals was central to the Australian Government’s Policy for a Competitive Agriculture Sector.

“At every step I am determined to deliver real outcomes to farmers that make a genuine difference across the industry. This research has the potential to deliver powerful productivity gains for Australian agriculture. I am proud to support it,” Minister Joyce said.

The Australian Government provides leadership and support for state and territory governments and landholders in pest animal control through its investments with rural research and development corporations, the CSIRO and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.

In addition to outlining the potential benefits of new investment in rabbit biological controls, the report identifies the economic benefits to agriculture from myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease over the past 60 years at $70 billion.

Benefits of Rabbit Biocontrol in Australia.

Information on the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre’s strategic rabbit control research program.