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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1120 ..

Chilean needle grass

(Question No 80)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice:

In relation to Chilean Needle Grass:

(1) Is the Minister aware of the threat posed by the invasion of Chilean Needle Grass.

(2) What investigations have been carried out to determine how the grass is spread.

(3) What contingency plans are in place and what is being taken to rid the Territory of this most noxious and voracious weed pest.

Mr Wood: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

(1) Yes, I am aware of the national and local concern of the threat posed by Chilean Needle Grass (Nasella neesiana). In response to the threat, the weed is listed as a Weed of National Significance (Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia & New Zealand, Australian & New Zealand Environment & Conservation Council and Forestry Ministers 2001), and is declared a pest plant in ACT pursuant to the Land (Planning and Environment) ACT 1991.

(2) Results from extensive surveys undertaken by Environment ACT staff, local botanists and volunteers have been collated by Environment ACT to provide a statement on the extent and abundance of Chilean Needle Grass in the ACT and surrounding region. The species is most abundant in urban areas, particularly the older suburbs, but also is present around the urban edge of Canberra and on some rural leases. It is widespread throughout the region, especially to the north and east.

The surveys confirm interstate studies that Chilean Needle Grass seed is spread mainly by vehicles and other machinery, especially mowers. The seed may also be spread by attaching to animals and clothing and through introduction in contaminated hay.

(3) Current actions to combat Chilean Needle Grass include:

The ACT Weeds Working Group (comprising representatives of major government and non-government land management agencies in the ACT and the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra) is promoting consistent and co-ordinated control actions in the ACT.

A management plan is being prepared for the ACT by the Weeds Working Group to ensure that management actions are strategic and targeted. This plan is likely to be completed in March 2002.

Sites having the highest conservation values are a priority for spray programs and other control activities.

Mowing contractors are required to clean machinery prior to entry into sites of conservation significance so that they reduce the likelihood of spreading seed into new areas.

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