Role of the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC)
The APLC was established as a result of a decision of the Australian Agricultural Council of Ministers and a subsequent exchange of letters between the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premiers of the States of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
The primary purpose of the APLC was to overcome past difficulties in organising the control of an insect which migrates over long distances and poses an interstate threat to agricultural industries. The major infestation of 1973-74 extended into all of the subsequent Member States as a result of interstate migrations and involved several locust species, which gave impetus to the decision to establish a dedicated locust control organisation. The APLC commenced operations in 1976 and has continued a program of monitoring, forecasting, research and control since that time.
The APLC was initially only responsible for the Australian plague locust, but in 1986 the Australian Agricultural Council determined that the commission should also manage two other species, the spur-throated locust and the migratory locust, in specific areas.
The role, responsibilities and accountability of the APLC were formally re-negotiated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between representatives of the agriculture agencies of the Member States and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, signed in November 2002. The commission is jointly funded by the Commonwealth (50%), New South Wales (32.5%), Victorian (10%), South Australian (5%) and Queensland (2.5%) Governments.
The operation of the APLC is overseen by six Commissioners from state and Commonwealth agencies. The APLC director is accountable for all APLC activities to the Commissioners, as representatives of the investing governments. The areas within which APLC operates regarding each of the three pest species covered under its charter were accepted unchanged in the 2002 MoU. (See Area of operation for details). The specific roles of the APLC are set out under the APLC Charter within the MoU.
The purpose of the APLC is to control locust populations in those situations where they have the potential to inflict significant damage to agricultural industries in more than one member state.
- Implement a preventive control strategy to minimise economic loss to agricultural industries caused by the Australian plague locust, spur-throated locust and migratory locust, with a priority given to the Australian plague locust.
- Minimise risk of locust control to the natural environment, human health and markets for Australian produce.
- Develop improved locust management practices through a targeted research program.
- Provide a monitoring and forecasting system for operations conducted by APLC and member states.
- Promote and facilitate adoption of best practice in locust control by member states.
- Participate in cooperative national and international programs for the development of APLC expertise.
- Continually review APLC operations to ensure they keep pace with the expectations of industry, community and government.