Ministerial media release: Think big and work together to combat invasive pests and weeds

The national research institute leading the way in pest animal and weed research and development has had a facelift, receiving a new name and $20 million in funding to expand its ground breaking research, delivering on a key Coalition Government election commitment.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said with funding now underway the new Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS), formerly the Invasive Animals CRC, can continue its coordinated national approach to the management of pests such as wild dogs and feral rabbits, to protect our $60 billion agriculture sector.

“The Nationals as part of a Coalition Government strongly believe in pest and weed management as a vital tool for boosting the productivity and profitability of Australia’s agricultural industries,” Minister Joyce said.

“The CISS will bring together cutting edge research and development, providing innovative solutions to make managing the land easier for our farmers, who bear an estimated $4 billion in livestock losses and weed management costs each year.

“The centre will build on the excellent work the Invasive Animals CRC undertook into rabbit biocontrol, that is helping to manage one of Australia’s most costly vertebrate pests. The rabbit biocontrol agent was released in March this year, the first time a new agent has been released in 20 years.

“The scale and complexity of the pest animal and weed problem needs a cooperative approach between governments, industry, business, universities and research agencies. If we are going to truly take on this national problem, we need to think big and think at a landscape scale.”

Chair of the CISS, Helen Cathles, said the new collaborative research and extension portfolio will have a national reach and deliver solutions to pest animal and weed problems at the farmgate.

“This is a very exciting time in land management and the Government’s investment will see benefits for all Australians, the environment and to agricultural productivity,” Ms Cathles said.

The Coalition Government is investing $50 million over four years, as part of its Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, to tackle established pest animals and weeds and a further $25.8 million specifically for areas still feeling the on-going impacts of drought.

Fast facts:

  • It has been estimated that pest animals cost Australia around $620 million a year in production losses and weeds cost an estimated $4 billion a year in control costs and production losses.
  • The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions will leverage cash and in-kind from universities, state governments, the CSIRO and industry partners.