Funds for dog baits, cacti
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.