Our 2019 Froggatt Awards recognised outstanding achievements, including those of Milo Yeigh, who saved the NSW town of Lismore from invasion by yellow crazy ants.
Queensland’s Southern Downs Regional Council won its Froggatt Award for recognising landholders for taking action on pests and weeds and former federal agricultural minister David Littleproud for creating the country’s first ever Office of Environmental Biosecurity.
Awarded to Southern Downs Regional Council in Queensland for their pioneering and innovative Invasive Pest Control Scheme that rewards landholders for undertaking pest and weed management.
The scheme was introduced in 2017 and applies to more than 5000 rural properties in the council area.
Landholders are charged a pest levy ranging from $500 to $6000 depending on the property value. If a land owner can demonstrate they are implementing a property pest management plan and meeting their general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act, the fee is waived.
The most common pests targeted by the program include African boxthorn, blackberry, rabbits, wild dogs and velvety tree pear.
Those that don’t prepare and implement a suitable pest management plan pay the pest levy, which funds the council’s pest management program.
An independent evaluation of the scheme’s operation over the past two years found majority support for the program, a 24,000 ha reduction of areas without declared pests, a 16% increase in landholder awareness of invasive pests and a $3300 boost in spending on pest control per property.
The Invasive Pest Control Scheme assists with greater landholder engagement, increased pest control and reduced areas affected by pests. The scheme has potential for broader application across Australia.
Awarded to Milo Yeigh, who first spotted and reported seeing yellow crazy ants in Lismore, leading to their rapid eradication.
Milo, who has a keen interest in ants, discovered a yellow crazy ant infestation in Lismore’s central business district in May 2018. After reporting it to NSW’s Biosecurity Hotline, the state’s Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services immediately carried out further surveillance and then eradication.
Milo’s ant spotting was presented with a Biosecurity Warrior award on June 2018.
The yellow crazy ant is listed among 100 of the world’s worst invasive species, and can cause serious damage to the environment, agricultural production and human amenity. They form highly cooperative super colonies and spray acid when attacking pets or native animals and birds, which may cause blindness.
A $30 million program is already underway to eradicate yellow crazy ants from the Cairns region where they threaten the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforests.
Milo’s ant spotting and reporting demonstrates the value of citizen surveillance in preventing invasive ants such as yellow crazy ants from establishing in NSW.
Awarded to the Hon David Littleproud for the creation of the Office of Environmental Biosecurity and the appointment of Australia’s first ever Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer, Ian Thompson.
The creation of this permanent office arose from a recommendation of the independent review of Australia’s biosecurity system, led by Wendy Craik in 2017.
The Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is supported by a dedicated office of four staff and oversees the delivery of an annual $825,000 project fund to drive investment in “environmental biosecurity capability and capacity”.
In its first year, the office has made significant progress on defining the pests and diseases we should be worried about, led responses to new pests and diseases entering the country, built stronger relationships with the community and provided a leadership role on environmental biosecurity at the federal level.
Improving environment biosecurity will take time and further resources given the historical origins of Australia’s modern biosecurity system founded on agricultural risks.
The award acknowledges David Littleproud’s leadership in implementing a major structural change to the federal biosecurity system to better address the risks of pests, weeds and diseases that could harm the natural environment.
In 2020 we saw some outstanding efforts from the winners of our annual Froggatt Awards.
In 2018 our Froggatt Awards went to community group Save Kosci, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Tarrangower Cactus Control Group.
In 2017 our Froggatt Awards went to the independent panel reviewing the national biosecurity system and Nic Gill, author of Animal Eco-Warriors: Humans and Animals Working Together to Protect Our Planet.
In 2016 our Froggatt Awards went to Gregory Andrews, Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner, SPRATS, the Sea Spurge Action Teams and Ecology Australia.
In 2015 our Froggatt Awards went to Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, NSW red imported fire ant response and Senate Environment and Communications References Committee.
Dear National Deer Management Coordinator,
Please accept this as a submission to the National Feral Deer Action Plan.
[Your personalised message will appear here]
I am very concerned about the spread of deer and am pleased that a national plan has finally been developed. Without urgent action, funding and commitment from all levels of government it is clear that feral deer will continue to spread and damage our environment.
The feral deer population in Australia is growing rapidly and spreading across the country, damaging our natural environment, causing havoc for farmers and foresters and threatening public safety. Unlike much of the world where deer are native, our plants and wildlife haven’t evolved to deal with these heavy hard hooved animals with a voracious appetite.
With no natural predators and an ability to adapt to almost all environments, they could occupy almost all of Australia unless stopped. Despite this, state and territory governments have been slow to respond and in Victoria and Tasmania they are still protected by law for the enjoyment of hunters.
This plan should be adopted by all governments but must also be underpinned by dedicated funding and clear responsibilities. A plan without funding or accountability is a plan that will fail and Australia cannot afford for this to fail.
In order to prevent the spread of feral deer and reduce their impact on our native wildlife, ecosystems and agriculture, I ask that the following recommendations be adopted for the final National Feral Deer Action Plan:
1. All federal, state and territory governments should adopt the National Feral Deer Action Plan and declare feral deer to be a priority pest animal species.
2. All federal, state and territory governments should commit to:
3. In order to drive action and the success of this plan, there should be dedicated Commonwealth funding and support for:
4. The expected outcomes for the plan need to be more ambitious, with clear interim targets including:
5. A national feral deer containment map with three zones should be adopted. It should be more ambitious than the zone map in the current draft plan and there should be greater clarity in the naming of the zones. Improvements that should be adopted include:
6. There should be consistent laws and regulations across all states and territories that:
I support the follow principles being adopted in the final National Feral Deer Action Plan: