The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) has expanded its community extension programs in strategic locations across Victoria over the past 12 months, supporting nearly 300 landowners in the Maude, Bullengarook, Toolernvale and Myrniong regions. Three extension officers were contracted to implement the targeted extension projects, which aimed to increase awareness of serrated tussock and provide landowners with the knowledge and resources to manage infestations. The VSTWP are aiming to contract a fourth extension officer to work in the core infestation area, subject to further funding arrangements.
All landowners in the target areas were offered a free property visit, an information package detailing serrated tussock identification and management options, technical advice on serrated tussock control and a property map noting any serrated tussock infestations located. VSTWP Chairman John Burgess noted that “each of the extension projects were launched with an information session or field day, with all landowners in the target area invited to discuss the project and learn about the biology, identification and services available to landowners affected by serrated tussock”.
“Providing expert one-to-one advice is recognised to be most beneficial to landholders and forms the foundation of success; personalised advice provides the landholder with the capacity and confidence to successfully achieve longterm control of serrated tussock on their property. The experience and expertise of our Extension Officers and relationships with communities are what makes our extension projects so effective and successful” noted Mr Burgess.
Serrated tussock is an introduced invasive plant from South America that has the potential to rapidly decrease the biodiversity of native grasslands and seriously reduce the agricultural capacity of properties. Chairman John Burgess said “over the past 12 months our extension officers have assessed over 11,500 hectares of land and have manage to ensure around 323 hectares were voluntarily treated by landowners at the time, with the expert management guidance and advice provided by the extension officers”.
The VSTWP have also increased their community engagement activities and presence in the online and field day events across the state. Highlights over the past 12 months included 6500 views on the new Youtube channel, attendance at 12 community events and the installation of 16 new roadside signs across the state.
VSTWP Extension Officer, Tim Johnston said “Many landowners new to a region do not know how to identify and manage serrated tussock, and the VSTWP extension program aims to increase awareness and provide technical advice on a property by property basis”. “The serrated tussock message is about integrated weed management and sustainable land management. Prevention and early detection of new infestations and replacement of existing infestations with desired species is critical in managing this invasive plant.” said Mr Johnston.
For further information, or to order a hard copy of the Progress Report 17/18, please contact Ivan Carter, Community Engagement Officer, Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party on email@example.com