In 1995 the community was deeply concerned with the spread of serrated tussock, a devastating weed that had invaded 130,000ha of land in Victoria. In response to that community concern, a strategy for the control of serrated tussock in Victoria was produced, which called for the development of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Society, as it was known then. Today, that organisation is the community-managed and driven Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party.
Since that time, the Working Party has striven in partnership with staff from the Department of Primary industries and Department of Sustainability and Environment, to achieve the original recommendations of the strategy. These include undertaking research into pastures and herbicide technology, production of appropriate extension materials, provision of incentives to land managers and community groups and a comprehensive mapping, extension, monitoring and compliance campaign.
The fourteen members of the VSTWP comprise a range of stakeholders, including DPI, Port Phillip and Corangamite Catchment Management Authorities, Landcare and community representatives. The group reports to the Secretary of DPI and has the following terms of reference:
- Oversee the refinement and implementation of the Serrated Tussock Strategy.
- Advise the Secretary DPI/DSE and Catchment Management Authorities on the impact and control of serrated tussock.
- Co-ordinate action by local government, Landcare groups and other groups on serrated tussock.
The Victorian Serrated Tussock Program has conducted, and/or sponsored, a wide range of serrated tussock research and development, education, extension and enforcement activities. Program staff and management have worked closely with Landcare groups, local government and other agencies to promote an holistic approach to land management and serrated tussock control.