Victorian Community Pest Management Groups
A partnership between four Victorian Community Pest Management Groups has received a 2022 Australian Biosecurity Award in the Community category.
The four voluntary Community Pest Management Groups (CPMGs) formed a partnership with Agriculture Victoria to deliver the Weeds and Rabbits Project – a $4.3 million initiative to improve the way established pest animals and weeds are managed in Victoria. The project ran from 2016 to 2021 and was funded by the Australian Government. The 4 groups are the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN), the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP), the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT), and the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce (VBT).
Invasive species cause substantial economic and environmental damage across Australia. The Weeds and Rabbits Project recognised the need to build the capability and capacity of those who lead, coordinate and support invasive species management activities, to ensure effective and sustainable weed and rabbit management.
The partnership also focused on shifting government and community thinking about pest and weed management as a government responsibility to an emphasis on community-led, government-supported pest and weed management.
The project partners formed the Delivery Leadership Group to guide project investment and decision-making, and involved the community. The governance approach was critical for supporting collective, community-led action on weeds and rabbits, and building collaborative relationships between government, industry and the community to maintain Australia’s biosecurity integrity.
This commitment acknowledges that individuals and community groups need to be involved, not just in undertaking established invasive species control but also in the design and delivery of biosecurity programs.
The project supported CPMGs to deliver projects that enable the community and key land managers to control weeds and rabbits. This also enhanced the capacity of CPMGs to work more efficiently and effectively, and to deliver initiatives to support community management, including working with young people and Indigenous groups.
The CPMG projects raised awareness and provided advice to land managers in best-practice control techniques, delivered 223 events and engaged with over 5,000 people. The CPMGs also supported collaboration between land managers, provided resources to land managers to overcome financial barriers to pest control, and built the capacity of key community members and organisations working on biosecurity.
The Victorian Community Pest Management Groups were nominated by Heidi Kleinert from Agriculture Victoria.
Watch a video about their work
This is the accessible text transcript of a 2022 Australian Biosecurity Awards winner video featuring the Victorian Community Pest Management Groups.
Lyn Coulston: Hello. I'm Lyn Coulston, Chair of the Victorian Blackberry Task Force, one of 4 community pest management groups in Victoria. We are thrilled to be awarded the Australian Biosecurity Award under the Community category. The 4 community pest management groups have worked closely with Agriculture Victoria on the Weeds and Rabbits project.
Ron Cosgrave: Hi, I am Ron Cosgrave and I’m Chair of the Gorse Task Force. I represent a treaty of about 14 members and this Australian Biosecurity Award is dedicated to those volunteers and hardworking executive officer who makes the VGT work, and work very successfully.
Lance Jennison: My name is Lance Jennison, I’m the Chair of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party. Serrated tussock is a noxious weed in Victoria.
Gerald Leach: My name is Gerald Leach and I am Chair of VRAN, the Victorian Rabbit Action Network. VRAN isn't just about rabbits. VRAN is very much about people. It's about helping people overcome the problems that they have with rabbits. It's about bringing people and ideas together, learning from each other.
Lyn Coulston: Blackberry is a weed of national significance which requires a community response.
Ron Cosgrave: VGT is committed to ensuring there is a strong emphasis on building community capacity in gorse control through a mix of extension services, community engagement activities and grants.
Lance Jennison: Our vision as the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party is to reduce the impact of serrated tussock in Victoria's economy, environment and the community. We’re made up, and comprise of, community members on our working party from across Victoria.
Lyn Coulston: Our approach focused on community groups. Tailoring projects that were effective at a local level.
Gerald Leach: It is really important to empower the community so that the people who have to provide the solution are actually involved in the decision making. They then have ownership not only of the problem but of the outcome as well.
Lyn Coulston: Receiving the Australian Biosecurity Award has given us all great encouragement. I would like to thank Heidi Kleinert from Agriculture Victoria for nominating the 4 community pest management groups for this award.
Ron Cosgrave: I commend Biosecurity Australia for their initiative. Thank you.