Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, will invite local councils across the New England to apply for a share in a $10 million drought fund to fight feral animals and weeds.
Applications have opened for the Federal Government’s Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.
Mr Joyce said the incentive will aim to stimulate economic activity and facilitate local employment in drought areas while assisting communities manage the negative impact of pest animals and weeds during drought.
“Droughts are devastating and this one is so severe that in some places even the blackberries, which are incredibly hardy, have died,” Mr Joyce said.
“One minor positive is that not only do trees die but weeds die too. Not all weeds but some, which means that after it rains, you have a better chance of identifying the ones which have survived and getting on top of them.”
Previous funding recipients under this program include Tenterfield Shire Council which was awarded $776,300 in April to reduce the impact of priority weeds in the area, namely serrated tussock and blackberry.
Separate Australian Government funding has also supported other projects in the electorate such as the Ferals in Focus workshop at Glen Innes and the launch of the Professional Wild Dog Controller Program at Merriwa.
Minister for Drought David Littleproud said even though pest and weed control is a state responsibility, the Australian Government has stepped in because their impact is worse during a drought.
“We’re continuing to invest in this program because we understand pests and weeds have a big impact on our regional communities, especially during a drought,” Minister Littleproud said.
Councils eligible for this funding in the New England include Tenterfield, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Gwydir, Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Tamworth, Liverpool Plains and Upper Hunter. These councils will be contacted directly with details on how to apply.