By Jeremy Sollars
The Southern Downs Regional Council says its pest management officers continue to take a “common sense” approach with landholders following the issuing of a “first round” of 2019/2020 supplementary rates notices to 440 landholders across the region deemed non-compliant with the council’s Invasive Pest Control Scheme (IPCS).
Minutes of the December 2019 meeting of the council’s Pest Management Advisory Committee show the “first round” of supplementary rates notices for the current financial year was issued on 30 October last year.
Of those 440 landholders – alleged by the council to have failed to comply with IPCS requirements to control pest weeds and animals on their properties – 169 are listed as “repeat offenders”.
A further 108 requests from landholders for withdrawal by the council of the ‘supplementary rates notices’ have been received but the grounds for withdrawal are not specified.
The minutes state those who received the supplementary rates notices – the financial penalty for alleged breaches of the IPCS – “failed to submit a CWF (Control Works Form) or failed to re-submit a CWF after contact with pest management officers”.
The minutes do not state that the supplementary rates notices were issued as the result of on-property physical inspections by council officers.
“Pest Management Officers continue to take a common sense and empathetic approach when dealing with landholders due to the ongoing drought conditions,” the meeting minutes state.
“Council continues to support landholders to control their invasive pests through the waiving of hire fees for spray equipment and cactus injectors which has seen a very strong demand for the equipment.
“There are waiting lists for most equipment.
“Mechanical weed control options are being encourages due to dry conditions.”
The council has previously committed to permanent application of the IPCS despite community opposition.
A “cost benefit analysis” of the IPCS will be undertaken annually and a “full review” of the policy with be carried out every four years.