Communities Combating Pests & Weeds Grant Opportunity

Colac Otway Shire Council has been successful in securing a grant opportunity from the federal government for a weed treatment and rabbit control program for the 2019-2020 financial year.

The program will benefit rural and farming communities within the shire, with funding support to substantially increase the capacity of community members to manage the difficult and complex issues created by weeds and pests.

This grant will enable Council to provide direct support to community members in their efforts to control some of the most prevalent and stubborn weeds in our shire. It is a rare opportunity for Council to run a landscape-scale program to treat high-priority weed species and conduct rabbit control on both private and Council-managed land.

The program will also aim to have significant biodiversity outcomes, and Council will seek to maximise the positive impacts by carefully prioritising projects and aligning works with existing efforts being made to tackle weeds and rabbits across the region.

This project is funded by the Australian Government under the Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.

Council is currently running an online Expression of Interest process, which will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 23 July.

Program Activities

The grant funding will be allocated to weed treatment and/or rabbit control programs on private land across Colac Otway Shire. The program will also be run on Council-managed land, and opportunities to maximise the impact of the program by aligning projects and creating cluttered project areas will be sought. Weed species eligible for treatment under the program are listed below.

Funding will be prioritised according to the objectives of the program, with projects that will contribute to the landscape-scale approach being taken and that demonstrate best practice receiving the highest prioritisation. In relation to the rabbit control component of the program, this means that projects utilising integrated pest management with multiple treatment methods (e.g. chemical control and warren destruction) will be looked upon more favourably than just one treatment method.

Target Weed Species

Weed species eligible for treatment under the grant are as follows:

  • African Boxthorn – Lycium ferocissimum
  • Blackberry – Rubus fruticosus
  • Cape Broom/ Montpellier Broom – Genista monspessulana
  • English Broom/Scotch Broom – Cytisus scoparius
  • Flax-leaved Broom – Genista IinifoIia
  • Spiny Broom – Calicotome spinose
  • Gorse – Ulex europaeus
  • Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna
  • Ragwort – Senecio jacobaea
  • St John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum

 Objectives of the Program

The objectives of this program are to:

  • Assist communities manage the impact of vertebrate pest animals and weeds
  • Contribute to the government’s broader biosecurity objectives
  • Limit the negative impact of pest animals and weeds on agricultural production
  • Stimulate economic activity in areas where projects take place
  • Provide a long-term benefit to communities where projects take place

Further Information

Do I need to make a financial contribution in order to participate in the program?

Yes. In order to ensure that the resources available have the widest possible reach, the program will require private landowners to contribute an amount equivalent to what they receive through the grant for works on their private land – i.e. successful projects will be allocated 50% of the overall cost of their program under the grant.

Please note: due to the standard of work required, as well as environmental and safety considerations, suitably qualified service providers must be engaged to undertake the works. Funding will not be allocated to individuals to undertake weed or rabbit control themselves.

Will I need to make a commitment to undertake follow-up works?

Yes. As part of management plans to be agreed between Council and successful grant recipients, Council will be seeking a commitment from landowners to undertake necessary follow-up works for a minimum of two years.

Should I complete an Expression of Interest or simply wait until the Application Process opens?

The Expression of Interest process is vital to helping Council shape the program and prioritise funding. Please submit an Expression of Interest if you wish to participate.

What will be prioritised in determining allocation of the funding?

As outlined above, projects that demonstrate and positively contribute to the following three desired project outcomes will be prioritised:

  • landscape-scale impact
  • best practice methods
  • biodiversity outcomes

Click here to complete the online Expression of Interest

If you experience problems completing the online form or would like some assistance with this process, please contact Liza Kennedy or Dora Novak, from Council's Environment Unit, on 5232 9400 or email liza.kennedy@colacotway.vic.gov.au and dora.novak@colacotway.vic.gov.au