Farmers are desperate to get some help with the eradication of Harrisia cactus which has invaded their land. Yet no help seems to be headed their way.
The Harrisia cactus is a native of Argentina and Paraguay and is believed to have been introduced to Queensland as a pot plant in the 1890s.
The Harrisia cactus is classified as an invasive plant under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 and appears to be spreading even more rapidly throughout the district over the last 5 years. Farmers are doing their best to keep the outbreaks on their properties under control with the use of herbicides and the mealy bug.
But all this will be in vain if the State Government and local councils don’t do their part on their land including roadways. You don’t need to drive far from Goondiwindi, as an example, before you see the numerous plants which line the sides of our highways. This makes it almost impossible for our landowners who are struggling to afford to keep their properties free of the invasion.
Some farmers have spent more than $400,000 trying to irradiate the plant from their prime agricultural land. I wonder how much our governments have contributed?
In May this year, the Labor Party Regional conferences in Groom and Maranoa passed a motion, calling on the State Government to make the necessary contribution to this invasive problem.
“Labor will provide real and financial assistance to Local Government in order to control invasive pests in rural communities where the presence of such pests has a significant adverse impact on agricultural and primary industry development and productivity. This includes Harisia cactus and Fireweed which is noxious to cattle and sheep.
While the motion did not get into the party’s platform, that will not deter us. I’ve been in touch with the office of the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries to discuss this issue and I expect to have further discussions in the near future.
I am firmly of the view that everyone must play their part in this battle. I would, as the State Member, be knocking on doors of our relevant ministers and vigorously fighting to get the support that is needed.
Media: Joel Richters 0408 277 060