Battling weeds and ferals should be part of Australia’s COVID fightback plans

Feral Herald |

Polling shows an overwhelming number of Australians would back federal funding of weed removal, feral animal control, tree planting and river restoration projects to keep regional people employed during the COVID-19 economic fightback.

The polling was conducted by Dynata and commissioned by the National Landcare Network. It found that:

  • 83% of Australians would support funds to employ tens of thousands of people in practical conservation activities like planting trees, removing weeds and restoring rivers.
  • 76% are concerned about the health of the country’s forests, rivers and wildlife.
  • 74% agree economic stimulus funding should be used to help communities and the environment recover from the bushfires and drought.

There has been a 134% increase in people actively looking for work through the Federal Government’s JobActive program over the first six months of 2020.

There were 1.4 million people looking for work in the second quarter of 2020 – 821,000 more people compared to the final quarter of 2019.

“Australians are overwhelmingly supportive of COVID-recovery initiatives that can keep people in work while also helping damaged landscapes recover,” said Jim Adams, CEO, National Landcare Network.

“They see that practical initiatives to help plant trees, restore degraded river systems and eradicate noxious weeds and feral animals are an ideal way to help improve our landscapes while also ensuring communities survive this tough period.”

The Invasive Species Council is part of an alliance of more than 70 conservation and farming organisations calling on state and federal governments to fund thousands of jobs undertaking practical conservation activities like planting trees, removing weeds and restoring rivers.
Several state governments have already responded, announcing new landcare and conservation programs designed to get people back to work.

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