Page 4121 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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flowering stems rise above the tufted leaves and carry a loose fanlike grey-green flower head. Seeds germinate in spring and autumn. Growth slows or ceases in winter and plants re-sprout the following spring as temperatures rise. Flowering begins in early summer and ripe seeds are present from January to March.

African lovegrass can vary in form, height and colour, so it is not easy for novices to identify. But once you learn to spot it, you may be able to spot it a mile away, and then perhaps use the ACT’s weed spotter website to register it. If I have my sighting of African lovegrass around Lake Tuggeranong confirmed, I will be sure to lodge that on the weed spotter website. In fact, I would be able to lodge it thousands of times, I am sure, because there are so many African lovegrass plants growing around there. The information I have just read out is taken from the ACT Landcare website.

It is also said that the full impacts of African lovegrass on grasslands and woodlands will be catastrophic over time. A primary means of spreading seeds is transportation by vehicles as well as by mowing. We have spoken in the past about the importance of cleaning the mowing equipment. Some questions have been raised as to whether that is actually taking place. Mowing does appear to be carrying this species right up to the boundaries of our reserve areas, which means our reserves will remain continually under threat from African lovegrass. That of course is not the only weed that we are talking about here; it is only one of many weeds.

I reiterate that there does not appear to have been a scientific basis for the cuts to the weed management budget. The future management and control of weeds in the ACT, in our urban, suburban and rural areas, will become more and more difficult as a result of inadequate funding. The stop-start management of weeds is simply not good enough. We need consistent weed management funding, together with a strategy to manage weeds. This should be developed with regular input from the ACT Weeds Advisory Group.

Things such as the weed spotter website and a smart phone app that Canberrans can use to identify where they have seen weeds while out and about should make weed management easier. This was said by the Minister for the Environment recently during the annual reports hearings. It is one thing to have a weed spotter website; it is another to have the resources available to then go and fight those weeds and control them. Without adequate weed management funding, how will the government eradicate those weeds located using those weed spotter tools?

The Canberra Liberals want to ensure the protection and enhancement of ecosystems in the ACT. Stop-start management of weeds is not a good way to do that. We call on the government, through this motion today, to reinstate the weed management funding cut in the 2015-16 budget, to reinstate meetings of the ACT Weeds Advisory Group, and to report back to the Assembly in February 2016 on progress of its weed management program. Surely this is not too much to ask. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.11): I welcome the opportunity to discuss this important issue today as an excellent chance to outline what is actually happening as opposed to perhaps what some people are concerned is happening.

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