Funds for dog baits, cacti

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - John Ely

The WA Gov­ern­ment has two of the Gold­fields’ great­est bi­o­log­i­cal scourges in its sights, with new fund­ing re­leased to com­bat wild dogs and in­va­sive cacti through aerial drones and poi­son-bait pro­duc­tion.

In Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der for Re­gional Cab­i­net, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Ken Bas­ton and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Terry Red­man an­nounced the fund­ing while tour­ing a cacti-in­fested field in Broad­wood.

The Gold­fields Nullar­bor Ran­ge­lands Biose­cu­rity As­so­ci­a­tion was granted two sep­a­rate fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions from the $20 mil­lion Roy­al­ties for Re­gions-funded Boost­ing Biose­cu­rity De­fences pro­ject.

The largest is a $158,500 grant for the GNRBA to im­ple­ment a cacti map­ping pro­gram.

While the biose­cu­rity group can easily find large plants the chal­lenge is track­ing down young cacti spec­i­mens hid­den by other veg­e­ta­tion.

How­ever, the GNRBA hopes to use drones and in­fra-red tech­nol­ogy to pin­point the lo­ca­tion of all cacti in the area through iden­ti­fy­ing mois­ture con­tent that dif­fer­en­ti­ates the in­va­sive species from na­tive veg­e­ta­tion.

GNRBA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ross Wood hoped to have the first drone in the air by Septem­ber.

Another welcome boost to the GNRBA’s cof­fers was a third of the $100,000 in fund­ing al­lo­cated to WA’s three Recog­nised Biose­cu­rity Groups to tackle wild dogs.

Mr Bas­ton said the fund­ing was the first step in an in­creased fo­cus by the WA Gov­ern­ment to com­bat the wild dog plague.

Mr Wood said the one idea on how the GNRBA would use the fund­ing was to es­tab­lish a bait­mak­ing fa­cil­ity close to Kal­go­or­lieBoul­der, thereby in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion and the scope of the bait pro­gram.

“We can up the rate of baits we make for pas­toral­ists, par­tic­u­larly our older pas­toral­ists who are strug­gling to make enough baits to make any im­pact at all,” he said.

Mr Red­man said it was im­por­tant R4R in­vest­ments in biose­cu­rity tack­led not only pre­vent­ing pests from en­ter­ing WA but also dealt with those al­ready here.

GNRBA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ross Wood with Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Ken Bas­ton and Kal­go­or­lie MLA Wendy Dun­can.

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