The early success of New Zealand’s fledging Weedbusters initiative will be outlined at the 14th Australian Weed Conference at the Charles Sturt University in New South Wales next week.
The Weedbusters public awareness and education program was launched last October by the Department of Conservation, with support from other Government and community groups.
Weedbusters National Coordinator Amber Bill, who will speak at next week’s conference, said Weedbusters was receiving strong support from New Zealanders.
“Last year we had 17 community group projects underway. That’s increased now to 23. We’re also out in the schools educating our younger generations about weeds, and helping to coordinate volunteer efforts.
“Our logo and work is gaining recognition, and our new website, launched late last month, has had more than two thousand visits,” Ms Bill said.
Ms Bill said weeds were costing New Zealand more than 100 million dollars a year in lost production and preventative measures.
“So Weedbusters is crucial as a national program to strengthen the focus on eradicating and controlling weeds,” she said.
“Weedbusters is New Zealand’s first response at a national level to the country’s weed problem, and so its early success in gaining community support and delivering information has been very encouraging.”
Ms Bill said New Zealand’s program was modelled on the Australian Weedbusters program, and the two countries were cooperating in the battle against weeds.
“Next week’s conference is timely for us to review our progress and exchange information and ideas.” Ms Bill said.
The conference, in Wagga Wagga, will run from the 6th to the 9th of September.