Community environment grants program - Questions

Hon LYNN MacLAREN to the minister representing the Minister for Environment:


(1) Has the minister estimated the value of the work by the numerous community groups and volunteers who managed lands with funds from the community environment grants program?
(2) If yes to (1), why was their funding abolished?
(3) How does the government intend to conserve the lands that numerous groups and volunteers managed now that funds are no longer available?
(4) How does the government intend to address the increasing problem of weeds in national parks?
(5) What key performance indicators are in place to ensure that work is done to address the problem of weeds in national parks?


Hon HELEN MORTON replied:


I thank the honourable member for some notice of this question.
(1) No. The funding only supports a portion of the works undertaken by the groups and individuals involved.
(2) Funding was not abolished. A successful four-year program came to its conclusion.
(3) The Department of Parks and Wildlife will continue to manage conservation lands with the assistance of the over 3 800 volunteers who assist in caring for conservation areas.
(4) The Department of Parks and Wildlife controls weeds as part of its commitment to conserving Western Australia’s biodiversity and also as a good neighbour to adjoining landholders. The Department of Parks and Wildlife is responsible for the management of about 26 million hectares of lands and 2.3 million hectares of waters in WA. The Department of Parks and Wildlife is also responsible for the on-ground management of fire preparedness, feral animal control and weed control on about 89 million hectares of non-metropolitan, non-townsite unallocated crown land and unmanaged reserves. The Department of Parks and Wildlife recognises that it is not possible to control all weeds across the lands it manages and has developed an environmental weed prioritisation process for the 1 350 recognised environmental weed species. This prioritisation process is used to identify and manage those infestations that are considered to have a high environmental impact and where eradication or control is feasible. The Department of Parks and Wildlife also targets weed species that are expected to have an adverse impact on high conservation values such as threatened species and communities. The Department of Parks and Wildlife determines the level of control based on resources and competing priorities. The Department of Parks and Wildlife works with the Department of Agriculture and Food, landholders and others in the control of weeds. A range of weed control programs are undertaken on Department of Parks and Wildlife managed lands, including national parks.
(5) Performance indicators for weed control programs on Department of Parks and Wildlife–managed lands vary depending on the location, nature of weed infestations and the management objective. Management objectives may relate to preventing the introduction of new weeds, the eradication of existing infestations or the containment and ongoing management of existing infestations.