Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Mike Kelly, has today approved funding for a weeds research project being lead by Professor Kris French of the University of Wollongong.
The Gillard Government has approved $262 938 in funding for the project which aims to fill knowledge gaps by undertaking a survey across the distribution of Madeira vine and cat’s claw creeper to identify levels of infestation and damage.
The project is part of a $6.1 million investment that will fund 33 new research projects bringing innovative approaches to tackling some of Australia’s most invasive pest plants.
Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird MP, welcomed the announcement of funding for the University’s project.
“Exotic woody vines are common along edges of fragmented habitats and some species are particularly destructive and becoming increasingly common,” Ms Bird said.
“This project will help to overcome the lack of knowledge of the degree and type of damage these vines cause and lead to the development of appropriate management strategies.”
Dr Kelly said that weeds have a major impact on the national economy, costing farmers more than $4 billion annually in lost production and control measures.
“The damage caused to Australia’s natural environment by weeds is also immense,” Dr Kelly said.
“The research investment is a key plank of the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program which is leading Australia’s search for weeds solutions.”
The newly funded projects began in March 2011 and run until May 2012.
This program is being managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).
A full list of the 33 research projects is available at http://www.rirdc.gov.au/programs.