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Western Local Land Services - December newsletter

Results are in for the Regional Landholder and Aboriginal Community surveys 

Earlier this year, landholders and the Aboriginal community were asked to take part in the 2017 Regional Landholder and 2017 Aboriginal Community surveys respectively. 

Western Local Land Services and the Western Local Board have viewed the results and we will now use the up-to-date snapshot to assist in the development of programs and projects across the Western region. 

The results of the 2017 Regional Landholder survey have also been compared to those from a similar survey conducted in 2014.

It was pleasing to see an increase between surveys in landholders that are undertaking agriculture, grazing or land management courses and also an increase in landholders with a biosecurity or access policy. 

The full reports of the surveys are available on our website which can be accessed by clicking here while below are some of findings of the surveys.

This snapshot is only a reflection of those that completed the survey, not all landholders and Aboriginal community members in the Western region. The above findings come from the 2017 Regional Landholder survey except for the 'Aboriginal cultural heritage' section which has come from the 2017 Aboriginal Community survey.  

Landholders warned to be on the lookout following recent rain

Western Local Land Services is calling on landholders to be alert to grass and plants that have the potential to cause toxicity problems in stock through grazing.

Following recent rain throughout much of the Western region, a good growth of summer feed is beginning to emerge.

While this is largely welcomed by landholders, some species such as Panicum effusum, commonly known as Hairy Panic Grass, Heliotropium europaeum, commonly known as Common Heliotrope, and Tribulus terrestris, commonly known as Cathead, can cause serious illness and in some instances death to stock that consume it.

Landholders should look out for stock showing any of the following symptoms:
  • Hairy Panic Grass: swelling of the head, ears and forelegs and seeking shade. Stock can be assisted by placing them in full shade (shed) and providing them with feed and water until they recover.
  • Common Heliotrope: generally found in stubble paddocks or on sandy red rises. Causes liver damage in sheep which can build up over several years. Remove stock from affected paddocks until heliotrope has died off.
  • Cathead: animals will show signs similar to Hairy Panic Grass. Prefers lighter soils and becomes more toxic under stress. 
Landholders that have stock that show any of the above symptoms are encouraged to contact their local District Veterinarian or Biosecurity Officer.

Our District Veterinarians can be reached on:

  • Charlotte Cavanagh, Bourke, 0429 773 021
  • Hannah Williams, Balranald, 0439 830 280
  • Felicity Wills, Broken Hill, 0409 858 901.

Hairy Panic Grass (above) and Cathead (below) are just two of the plants that landholders with stock need to be on the lookout for. 

Work to commence on priority weeds projects in the Western region

Landholders that expressed a desire to carry out important weed projects on their properties are set to commence work following the approval of their applications.

Following a two month process, Western Local Land Services approved five applications that were made through the Western Weed Management program, and as a result of the five projects, it is expected 15,000 hectares of area will be treated for Mesquite and Boxthorn.

Boxthorn is an aggressive invader of pastures, roadsides, reserves, remnant bushland and waterways. It forms an impenetrable, spiny thicket that inhibits the movement of stock and provides a haven for feral animals. 

Mesquite is a woody weed that invades open grasslands, rangelands and the banks of watercourses, forming thick, impenetrable, thorny thickets. There are four known species of mesquite in Australia and several hybrids. 

Click here for more information on weeds management in the Western region or contact your nearest Local Land Services office.

Pictured is Boxthorn at Cobar. Funding for this program was provided through the National Landcare Program and Catchment Action NSW.  

New staff members looking forward to working with landholders

Last month, we welcomed two highly credentialed employees to our team in Karin Sluiter (Land Services Officer) and Lynda Holley (Biosecurity Officer).

Both will be working in a hands-on capacity with landholders and community members predominantly in the south-west of NSW, with Karin being based in Buronga and Lynda based in Wentworth.

In her role as a Land Services Officer, Karin will work with landholders, community members and stakeholders in a number of areas including biodiversity, threatened species and riparian, soil, land and weed management.

Lynda will also work extensively with landholders in a range of areas including the management of pest animals, diseases and weeds, all of which are highly important for any landholder and community member in the Western region.

Landholders can contact Karin in the Buronga office on (03) 5051 9459 or 0447 325 418 and Lynda in the Wentworth office on (03) 5027 3064 or 0427 200 820.

Karin Sluiter (left) and Lynda Holley will spend the majority of their time in and around the Sunraysia area but will occasionally work throughout the Western region.

Horticulturalists set to benefit as QLD Fruit Fly modelling nears completion 

Local producers will soon have a greater understanding and ability to manage the Queensland Fruit Fly as a modelling project nears completion.

The Area Wide Management project, which involves Western Local Land Services, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the CSIRO, will see a model established that will assist local producers manage the impacts of the Queensland Fruit Fly in the Greater Sunraysia region, Shepparton in Victoria and the Riverland area of South Australia.

Using skills that have been developed when mapping other pest species, along with crop survey data of the local areas and information from stakeholders, the model has considered the following criteria:
  • crop host range
  • species susceptibilities
  • seasonality
  • levels of management options
  • effectiveness of controls
  • known behaviours of Queensland Fruit Fly.
To ensure local producers have access to the model, an interactive website will be set-up for landholders and community members to access.

Producers that want more information regarding this project should contact Western Local Land Services Agribusiness Officer, Gregory Moulds on (03) 5021 9444. 

Recently Alicia Mellberg (DPI), Gregory Moulds and Justine Murray (CSIRO) met in Dareton to look over the mapping component of the modelling project. This project is being funded by Horticulture Innovations Australia. 

School students launch books on local environmental issues 

Students from five schools in the Wentworth and Balranald areas have launched books about the environment, farming and cultural issues following their participation in the Creative Catchment Kids (CCK) program. 

The CCK program, which is an initiative of the Petaurus Education Group in Albury and funded by Western Local Land Services, has seen students at Buronga, Wentworth, Palinyewah and Euston Public Schools and Balranald Central School spend time over the past 12 months outside the classroom to research content for their books. 

The book launches were all keenly attended by the wider school community and those involved in the project. 

For further information on this program contact Senior Land Service Officer, Kaye Gottschutzke on (03) 5021 9409.

Pictured are students and those involved in the CCK program from Buronga, Wentworth and Palinyewah Public Schools.

Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups to continue on with their representation

Earlier this month, the Western Local Board endorsed the new Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups (ACAG), with many members remaining on for another term.

The ACAG members give landholders and community members a point of contact to discuss issues and identify opportunities. 

In total, there are three ACAGs in the Western region based in geographical areas, loosely being Balranald, Wentworth and Hillston in the south, Broken Hill and unincorporated in the west and Bourke and Cobar in the north. 

The new Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups are:
  • South – Lawrence Clarke (chair), Rick Ohlsen, Peter Harris, Lawrence Payne and Faye Johnstone.
  • West – Dennis Hall (chair), Cheryl Blore, Gerald Quayle and Jennifer Bates.
  • North – Julie Knight (chair), Joan Evans, Peter Hardy, Edward Orcher and Thomas Morris.
Click here for more information on our ACAG and Local Community Advisory Group members.

Click here for more information on our Board members. 

The ACAG and LCAG play a vital role in ensuring Western Local Land Services is providing the services that are required by landholders and community members. Please ensure you're always providing feedback to ACAG, LCAG and Board members at every opportunity. 

Local Land Services finish up reconciliation consultation sessions

Community consultation sessions were held in the Western region in early December and throughout NSW from September. 

In total, over 1,000 people attended the sessions and their feedback will now be considered as Local Land Services continues to develop its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Now that the consultations have been completed, a final draft will be prepared and sent to Reconciliation Action Australia for their comment. The Local Land Services Board will then be asked to endorse the RAP. 

We plan to launch our first RAP during Reconciliation Week in 2018. 

Senior Land Services Officer - Aboriginal Communities, Blackie Gordon leads a group demonstration about how Aboriginals used 'tools' such as rocks in their day-to-day lives. 

Interim report on Travelling Stock Reserves released 

Almost 900 submissions were made to the NSW Government as part of their review of Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR). 

There are 6,500 TSRs on Crown Land in NSW, covering about 2 million hectares, with 75 per cent of these being in the Western Division. 

A majority of landholders from the Western Division said TSRs on their properties have not been used for travelling stock for more than a decade due to better and cheaper transport options. 

The TSR review's final report will be released early next year. 

The interim report can be found by clicking here

The review has created a comprehensive map of TSRs which highlights their value to regional NSW, including droving, environmental connectivity, Aboriginal cultural heritage and recreation. 

Free quad bike safety training for landholders 

Free quad bike training is still available under the NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

While landholders previously received a rebate, training through an authorised Registered Training Organisation is now not only free, but landholders who complete it will also receive a free compliant helmet, worth around $120. 

More information regarding this can be found by clicking here. 

Weather report 

Some fast facts about the weather in November.

The November edition of the NSW Seasonal Conditions Summary is now available as is the latest NSW Climate Summary.

Western Local Land Services Christmas shutdown 

Our offices will be closed from Monday, 25 December and re-open on Monday, 8 January.

If there is an emergency or biosecurity issue during this close period, please call: 
  • Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline: 1800 675 888
  • Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881.

Until next time...

If you want more information about anything that has featured in the December newsletter, please contact your local Western Local Land Services office.

Please forward this newsletter onto anyone who would benefit or enjoy seeing what has been happening in the Western region.

You can also offer feedback and suggestions on what you'd like to see in future by clicking here. 
We welcome your feedback about this newsletter.  Please feel free to pass it on to anyone you think may be interested. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, subscribe here.

Western Local Land Services 
Freecall: 1300 795 299

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