Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, chaired a meeting with state ministers to discuss the potential impact of the current locust situation and to support the continued coordination of response activities along eastern Australia.
Minister Ludwig spoke with Minister for Agriculture Victoria, Joe Helper, Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Queensland, Tim Mulherin, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries South Australia, Michael O’Brien and Minister for Primary Industries New South Wales, Steve Whan.
Minister Ludwig said the ministers have agreed to continue cooperating on this critical issue for farmers and their communities as the infestation unfolds in these states over the next two months.
“I have seen firsthand the extent of the locust infestation in central west New South Wales and I’m pleased to hear that landholders are working well with local agencies to protect their own properties,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Many farmers and pastoralists in the eastern states have witnessed almost a decade of drought, and now long awaited good rainfall, which has unfortunately led to ideal conditions for locusts.
“I want to acknowledge the high level of cooperation and expertise being applied by each jurisdiction in this battle.”
High density hatchings of locusts began in northern and central west New South Wales in September. This has been followed by hatchings near Broken Hill, in farming areas around the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and near Mildura in north western Victoria.
Attention will be focused in the next week on the area of high locust activity in the Riverina region on the New South Wales-Victorian border.
“While there are plans in place to collectively treat up to 2.5 million hectares of infestation, landholders must be vigilant in protecting their crops from locust hatchings,” Minister Ludwig said.
The Australian Plague Locust Commission, a joint state and federally funded body, is continuing to work with impacted states to ensure surveillance and control measures are well co-ordinated .