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Pimelea focus of talks with Environment Minster [Minister]



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Senator Ron Boswell National Party - Qld

B2006/30

Pimelea focus of talks with Environment Minster

[18/03/06]

Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and Senator for Queensland, Ron Boswell today said he had raised the issue of toxic Pimelea with the Environment Minister and had sought a continuation of talks with the Minister during the next few weeks.

Senator Boswell said he would investigate removal of Pimelea from the protected species list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Speaking at the Clifton Pest and Weeds Show, Senator Boswell said toxic Pimelea was becoming a significant problem in the Central and Western district of Queensland.

“The toxic form of the native plant is causing major stock losses throughout the region,” Senator Boswell said.

“Due to a certain species of Pimelea’s listing as a protected species, landholders are understandably reluctant to report the spread of the weed and are powerless to restrict its growth.

“The weed is toxic if consumed by cattle and even dry fragments of the plant are toxic when inhaled by stock.

Symptoms of Pimelea poisoning (also known as St George or Marree Disease) included severe diarrhoea, muffled heart sounds, increased respiration and decreased exercise tolerance.

“This makes management of affected stock extremely difficult as the sheer effort of mustering a herd away from the plant could trigger an early death,” he said.

Senator Boswell said that although pests like weeds and feral animals can cause massive damage to crops and stock and result in significant financial losses, pest management is often reactive, with resources time and money being focused on controlling species rather than prevention.

“The reality is that feral animal and weed control is the responsibility of no one agency or individual,” he said.

“It requires eternal vigilance from landowners, local, state and federal government, a multitude of strategies from education, to eradication and working together, with a single focus.”

Senator Boswell said that pest and weed education for those new to the land was essential.

“In this era of ageing landholders, large landholdings are being divided into small

blocks and sold to lifestylers, treechangers, those who don’t have a background in rural production.”

“It may be peaceful to sit on a verandah and watch a rabbit bounce through a purple hued paddock. It is not until their shed collapses into the warrens underneath it, and the stock start to show signs of poisoning, that the menace of weed and animal pests become real,” Senator Boswell said.

ENDS

Media Contact - Paul Leven 07 3001 8150