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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2009) . . Page.. 1483 ..

2. The 2008-09 program targets a range of highly invasive environmental weeds, such as serrated tussock, Chilean needlegrass, blackberry, African lovegrass, St John’s wort, willows and new weed incursions.

3. Yes

4. Four written letters were received in 2006/07 and eighteen in 2007/08. The total number of written representations about environmental weeds is 22. Approximately 20 telephone inquiries are received by the Department each week, including both land holders seeking general and technical advice as well as complaints about weeds. I am unable to provide a detailed breakdown by type of complaint.

5. Complaints were resolved according to the level of priority assigned to the weed species. Highly invasive weeds were controlled in accordance with the program. Complainants regarding low priority weeds would have been advised of the ACT’s strategic approach.

6. There are cooperative programs with neighbouring NSW authorities. The ACT is a member of the NSW/ACT Serrated Tussock Working Group, the Southern Tablelands and South Coast Region Noxious Plants Committee and the Australian Alps Natural Resource Management Reference Group.

7. The priority weed control program is running according to schedule. Regular liaison is maintained with neighbouring authorities.

8. Yes. The programs are:

a) Grow Me Instead - a Weedbusters garden display at Floriade held annually. The garden display aims to increase awareness of the potentially adverse environmental impacts associated with common garden plants escaping into bushland areas.

b) Weed Swap - a joint initiative of the Australian Native Plants Society and the ACT Government held in Spring and Autumn to encourage ACT residents to remove potentially invasive plants from their gardens, safely dispose of them and then select a free Australian native plant as an appropriate alternative.

c) Alligator Weed Awareness - this program disseminates information (brochures, workshops, television advertisements and press releases) about the adverse impacts, how to recognise alligator weed and how to report suspected infestations. There is close cooperation with the Sri Lankan community (some members of which have historically grown this plant as a vegetable) to eradicate the weed from backyards.

9. A formal survey to gauge the effectiveness of education programs has not been undertaken. However, PCL does receive positive feedback from some Floriade visitors about the removal of pest plants from their gardens after they have visited the Weedbusters display. Weed Swap appears to be very successful with many Canberra householders removing environmental weeds during Weed Swap weekends.

In relation to the Alligator Weed awareness initiatives, the three workshops run with the Sri Lankan community last year attracted a large number of participants (over 70 people from the Sri-Lankan community). This high level of interest was a measure of the success of the awareness campaign.

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