Weeding out the pests
  • Monday 22 June 2015

Sunshine Coast Council wants to thank the community for achieving 88% self-compliance over the past financial year and helping to prevent pest weeds damaging the environment and community amenity.
However, there is more work to be done.
Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said Council would continue its war against weeds following the next proposed Pest Survey Program receiving the green light at the June Ordinary Meeting.
“Council has been undertaking consecutive approved Pest Survey Programs across rural and peri-urban properties on the Sunshine Coast for a number of years,” Cr McKay said.
“These programs involve investigating declared pest plants on private property in accordance with the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 (the Act) and the objectives of the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area Pest Management Plan 2012-2016.
“Failure to efficiently deliver the pest survey program will put at risk the control of declared pest plants throughout the region, causing environmental damage, loss of biodiversity, threat to stock and domestic animals, loss of agricultural productivity and loss of community amenity.”
Council will be undertaking the next round of the Pest Survey Program between July 4 and September 30, with emphasis placed on  inspecting properties more than 4000 square metres in the Glass House Mountains, Peachester, Palmview, Ilkley, Eudlo, Bli Bli, Verrierdale, Eerwah Vale and Kiamba areas.
Cr McKay said the program continued to go from strength to strength following Council’s introduction of new education strategies and technologies.
“We are pleased to see such high levels of self-compliance from landowners following our increased focus on education and awareness in the community,” she said.
“Landowners are becoming much more aware of their responsibilities as we undertake community action engagement and assist them to proactively assess and manage pest plants. 
“The introduction of officers recording inspections directly into Council’s system from iPads has also significantly increased our productivity and responsiveness.
“It means we can deliver on the ground, with staff rarely having to return to the office. All the work can be undertaken quickly and easily in the field.”
Division 10 Councillor Greg Rogerson said despite the program’s success, Council would not rest on its laurels.
“While the need for Council to undertake any enforcement or further action is minimal – less than 6% – the same issue continues to be repeated throughout the Sunshine Coast region,” Cr Rogerson said.
“The pest weed Groundsel continues to be the biggest problem, making up 73% of all our weed issues that require notices to be sent out.
“In the last 12 months, the hot spots for Groundsel have been Bli Bli, Bridges, Maroochy River, Pacific Paradise, Belli Park and Yandina Creek. Another big issue which continues to be raised by numerous local residents, especially in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is the impact and spread of Giant Rat's Tail Grass (GRT).
“Council encourages all Sunshine Coast residents to inspect their properties and make themselves familiar with information about declared pest plants on Council’s website, including advice on what they can do to manage any issues.
“For instance, if landowners could identify and destroy Groundsel plants and Giant Rat’s Tail Grass on their properties this would go a long way to controlling the spread of these invasive weeds on the Sunshine Coast.
“A number of resources including booklets, fact sheets and public notices are also provided to rural and peri-urban landholders via mail outs, public notices and surveys. 
“Any landowner who still has concerns can contact Council and we will arrange for an officer to speak with you or visit your property, first hand.”
Council is also auditing and treating local road reserves for declared pest plants to meet its responsibilities under the legislation.
For further information, contact council’s Customer Contact Centre on (07) 5475 7272 or email mail@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au