Page 339 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 February 2018

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(6) How frequently is the NSW Weed Risk Management System for ACT Conservation and Natural Environments reviewed to ensure it reflects changes to weeds entering the ACT and remains proactive.

Mr Gentleman: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) African lovegrass is a highly invasive weed and is widespread throughout arterial roads and suburban parkland areas across Canberra and NSW. It is spread by wind and water, mowing activities and movement of soil, animals, pedestrians and vehicles. Due to the extensive occurrence of this weed, the ACT Government implements the following strategies with the aim of minimising its spread in the ACT, with the primary focus on protecting high value conservation areas, such as nature reserves:

Mowing strategies currently in place to minimise the spread of African lovegrass include:

- Directional mowing - mow from low infested areas to high infested areas;

- Designated clean down areas – specified sites where mowers are blown down/washed to limit spread of the weed;

- Cleaning of mowers prior to moving to another region; and

- Raising the height of the mowing cut to give other, desirable species the opportunity to flourish and become a competitor to the African lovegrass.

Protection of high value conservation areas:

- Trialling of various methods to manipulate the grass/groundcover species in an attempt to outcompete the African lovegrass and/or reduce seed load adjacent to high conservation areas;

- Herbicide spraying of African lovegrass in and adjacent to high value conservation areas; and

Creation of buffer zones (no mow areas) adjoining conservation sites to provide competition from tall vegetation and prevent the spread of the weed. In 2017-18, $416,000 is budgeted to be spent on African Lovegrass control across Canberra Nature Park nature reserves, urban native grasslands, Murrumbidgee River Corridor nature reserves, Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Googong Foreshores and rural roadsides. This represents approximately 30% of the entire invasive plants control budgets for these areas.

(2) There are two registered herbicides for African lovegrass control: glyphosate and fluproponate. These herbicides are used according to the directions of herbicide labels and related permits. Glyphosate is applied when the plants are actively growing, which means from spring to autumn, as African lovegrass is a warm season grass. The optimal time for use of fluproponate on African lovegrass is also when the plants are actively growing. Spraying African lovegrass at seed set does not kill the seed. Spraying before seed set helps reduce volume of seed that is added to the seed bank and helps to slow spread. This is the approach that is taken when controlling this invasive grass in reserves and along rural roadsides.

(3) a) In 2017-18, there will be approximately 95ha of Paterson’s curse control across 20 sites as part of rehabilitation work in some reserves. Paterson’s curse is a weed of disturbed areas so it is a lower priority than the highly invasive plants, e.g. African lovegrass and St John's wort. New reserves that are being rehabilitated, e.g. offsets

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