Effective Pest Animal and Weed Control for Budget-Constrained Local Authorities

Position Magazine RapidMap Summit Biosecurity September 2023

Local authorities play a vital role in maintaining the environmental management and sustainability of our urban and rural regions. Weed infestations and Pest Animals are always on the move and encroaching on new areas. Melbourne suburbs are now sighting deer and many other ferals in alarming numbers. Managing pest animals and weeds is essential as they can destroy ecosystems, cause the extinction of native plants and wildlife as well and devastate local agriculture. However, budget constraints often pose challenges in terms of control activities. So let’s explore cost-effective strategies that budget-constrained local authorities can adopt to protect their communities from these threats:

Prioritise and Plan

The first step in effective pest animal and weed control is to prioritise the most pressing issues. Identifying which pests and weeds are causing the most harm to your community and ecosystem and where they are is the most essential criteria to capture. When you know where they are and the extent of the infestation, then, develop a strategic plan to engage others for a Shared Biosecurity Responsibility approach that outlines the goals, resources needed, and a timeline for implementation.

Collaborate with Stakeholders

Local authorities can strengthen their control efforts by collaborating with various stakeholders, such as local farmers, environmental and land care groups, and volunteers such as the various Taskforces for Blackberry, Gorse, and Serrated Tussock as well as engaging with land owners. Partnerships can provide additional support and resources, expertise, and labor, often for little to no cost to the main agency for the region.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management is a sustainable and cost-effective approach that combines multiple pest control methods to minimise the use of pesticides, baits, traps, and other approaches. IPM strategies include biological controls, habitat modification, and the introduction of natural predators to control pest populations. By reducing reliance on chemical treatments, local authorities can save money while protecting the environment. The recent Pest Animal and Weeds Symposium in Dalby had a range of presenters who provided insights and excellent content covering decades of in-the-field experiences.

Public Awareness and Education

Engage the community by raising awareness about the importance of pest animals and weed control even at the schools. Host workshops, distribute informational materials to residents and land owners, and encourage people to report sightings of invasive species. Informed and engaged citizens can be valuable allies in your control efforts especially to prevent exotic plants from “jumping the fence” from their gardens into the neighboring landscape. Organisations like Gardening Responsibly are doing a great job educating Nurseries to prevent the sale of exotic plants that could compromise the Australian native vegetation and habitats.

Grant Opportunities

Search for grants and funding opportunities from government agencies, non-profit organisations, and private foundations that support pest and weed management projects. Many agricultural associations are keen to help prevent an incursion of weeds, pest animals, and potential diseases carried by feral animals to livestock. Securing external funding can alleviate the financial burden on local authorities and landcare volunteer groups.

Volunteer Programs

Establish volunteer programs for residents, farmers and land owners interested in contributing to pest and weed control efforts. These programs can provide extra hands and enthusiasm at little to no cost while fostering a sense of community involvement and community resilience associated with Natural Disasters.

Prioritise Prevention

Preventing the introduction and spread of pest animals and weeds is often more cost-effective than managing established populations. Implement strict regulations on the importation and transportation of potentially invasive species, and encourage residents to follow responsible gardening and landscaping practices. Federal, State and Local government departments are guided by the National Biosecurity Strategy Plan to coordinate prevention activities, however, we all have a role to play in identifying potential threats like fire ants, weeds and pest animals in our neighbourhood.

Monitor and Evaluate

Regularly monitor the effectiveness of your control efforts and adapt your strategies as needed. By tracking progress and making data-driven decisions, local authorities can optimise their use of resources and ensure their efforts are achieving the desired results. Pay attention to any changes in vegetation in your area and check if invasive species are trying to get established.


Local authorities may face budget constraints, but with careful planning, engagement with the community and creative approaches, effective pest animal and weed control is still achievable. Prioritising, collaborating, coordinating, communicating and adopting sustainable practices can help reduce costs while safeguarding the environment and the community. By involving the public and seeking external funding to solve measured and mapped incursions, local authorities can more effectively manage pest animals and weeds, ensuring a healthier and more prosperous future for their region. 

Summit Biosecurity represents a transformative force in the world of biosecurity, leveraging the capabilities of spatial technologies, mobile mapping applications, GIS data, drones, and cutting-edge AI. This holistic approach revolutionises how biosecurity organisations tackle the complex challenge of invasive species management. Notably, Summit Biosecurity doesn’t just enhance precision and efficiency in pest animal and weed control; it also fosters collaborative partnerships among stakeholders. This emphasis on “Strong Partnerships” closely aligns with one of the Six Priority Areas outlined in the National Biosecurity Strategy of Australia, highlighting the importance of collective efforts in safeguarding our ecosystems.

Read Summit Biosecurity’s featured article on page 27 in the Aug/Sep 2023 Issue of the Position Magazine and delve deeper into how Summit Biosecurity is transforming the landscape of pest animal and weed management using the latest advances in technology.