Only 11 percent of the shire is in public ownership. Much of the public land within the shire is under State government control, but Council either owns or manages many of our bush reserves, all of which require vigilant checking for pests and weeds. Our roadsides are also extensive and we only have limited funds each year to attend to weeds growing there.
I have successfully advocated for increased funds in Council’s budget for roadside weed management at your request. I have also continued to put the issue in front of the State and Federal government and peak organizations such as the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to get increased funds from other sources, as it is such a big task.
Feral animals, particularly deer, are becoming an increasing problem in our Shire: damaging not only our precious native vegetation but also agricultural crops. I have continued to advocate to have a sensible Deer management strategy instituted at State level, so as to obtain adequate funding to try to eradicate deer from our shire, and have them classed as a pest animal. They also cause accidents on our roads.
I will, if re-elected, continue to advocate for State government to manage pest animals better, and for increased funding to be made available to both private and public land owners to control weeds.
It is not fair that some owners do the right thing, only to have neighbors, particularly absentee landowners, not clear up their weeds, allowing infestations to recur.
Increasing available recurrent funding from State government to support our ‘Friends of ~’ and Landcare groups, who assist council on the ground to improve native plantings and remove weeds, will also continue to be a strong focus of advocacy.
Council could still do with extra manpower on the ground in our bush reserves to assist our one current staff member to assist our volunteer groups.
Most of our bush reserves now have management plans, which have had significant input from our friends of groups. i learnt quickly that it is best to talk to those helping out on the ground to see what the priority issues are to ensure these plans are achievable, and to prioritize what can be done.
In West ward we have: Malmsbury Common, Black Hill Reserve, Bald Hill Reserve, and the Woodland Grasslands.
Through the hard work of our staff and volunteers most have greatly reduced weeds and the native vegetation has an increased chance of survival.
I encourage people,once Covid restrictions lift, to enroll in one of our many guided walks to learn more about them.
They are very popular and often book out quickly. I’ve been on quite a few they are usually free and I learn so much and meet new people.