​Media Release

Government hopping to it on feral rabbit control

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs and Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja


15 September 2016​

  • $53,000 to fight feral rabbits across the ACT
  • Rabbits are Australia's most costly vertebrate pest animal causing an estimated $206 million in losses each year to the agricultural industry

Farmers in the ACT will be better placed to fight Australia's most costly vertebrate pest animal, the feral rabbit, with funding to help coordinate efforts to reduce its impact on farm productivity and our environment.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and ACT Senator Zed Seselja said the Coalition Government is providing $53,000 in funding as part of the government's Established Pest Animals and Weeds Initiative in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

"This funding is about taking collective action to deal with a key threat in the ACT, feral rabbits," Minister Joyce said.

"Rabbits are Australia's most costly vertebrate pest animal, causing an estimated $206 million per year in losses to the agricultural industry. Limiting their impact is vital to improve farmgate profits and protect our natural resource base."

Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja said the Coalition Government is providing the funding to the ACT Government, which is coordinating rabbit control across rural properties in and around the ACT.

"The Coalition Government has made safeguarding our agricultural industries from the impacts of pests, diseases and weeds a priority," Senator Seselja said.

"There is uncertainty about the extent of the wild rabbit problem on rural lands in the ACT and there is a lack of coordinated pest control across properties and tenures.

"This project will help coordinate pest management control across rural properties and adjacent tenures, including mapping rabbit population densities and distribution on rural properties and build landholder skills in best practice methods of rabbit control."

Landholder and owner of Ray White Rural Canberra/Yass Simon Southwell, said he had noticed rabbit numbers were on the rise and welcomed the renewed focus in the region to manage the notorious pest.

"I own rural property and we're covered in feral rabbits. I'm out on a nightly basis just to keep them at bay.

"European rabbits almost decimated the country mid last century, so I'd hate to see that kind of explosion in numbers again," Mr Southwell said.​


FAST FACTS:

  • Every year established pest animals and weeds cost our farmers in excess of $4 billion in livestock losses and weed management costs.
  • Australia's agricultural production industry is worth over $58 billion (ABARES Agricultural Commodities Report June 2016/17)
  • The Coalition Government's Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper has invested:
    • $50 million over four years to tackle established pest animals and weeds
    • A further $25.8 million specifically for areas still feeling the on-going impacts of drought


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

To find out more about established pest animal and weed funding, visit agriculture.gov.au/pestanimalsandweeds.