A HUGE reduction in expenditure for declared pest control activities was a major concern in last week's State Budget for Liberal South West MP Steve Thomas.
As part of the budget, a reduction in expenditure of $8.2 million over the forward estimates period was approved to match a reduction in levied rates on properties for declared pest control activities in accordance with the legislative requirements of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act.
Mr Thomas said as far as he understood, that meant there would be more than $16m less spent on biosecurity for declared species over the next four years as the State government matched levies paid by recognised biosecurity groups.
While the government did also announce an additional $3.3m over 2021-22 to 2025-26 for a range of biosecurity emergency response initiatives, Mr Thomas said it was just trying to hide a negative with a positive.
"This reflects a longer-term trend under the current agriculture minister where they're almost entirely focused on keeping out pest species and have given up on pest species that are already here," Mr Thomas said.
"The government has lost interest in those species that are problems for us which has been proven as Alannah MacTiernan has been removing species, such as blackberry, off the declared list for years.
"That means the government doesn't have to do anything about them and this reduction in expenditure further represents a five-year trend on ignoring the fight on the pest species that are already here."
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