Western Australia is relatively free from many of the world’s pests, plant and animal diseases, and no new pests have become established in the state since the arrival of the Cane Toad in 2009. However, it is difficult to verify how effectively established pests are managed throughout the state.
DAFWA’s priority is to prevent new pests and plant and animal diseases entering the state, and to enable early intervention in eradicating those pests that do enter. This represents the area of greatest economic return in the control of pests.
For pests that are already established in the state, DAFWA undertakes some pest control activities itself and has formed partnerships with some regional and local groups. This reflects the fact that DAFWA cannot effectively manage all established pests state-wide on its own, and needs the cooperation and collaboration of landholders and other government agencies. However, current levels of cooperation and collaboration fall short of those needed and envisaged in the BAM Act.
An effective state-wide pest management framework is not yet in place. Specifically, there is no integrated state-wide plan, and information on the impact of established pests is limited. The prioritisation of some established pests and programs over others is not always clear and DAFWA conducts little or no enforcement activity to ensure landholders control pests on their land.
Individually, these issues raise concerns about whether resources are effectively used and targeted and whether landholders are controlling established pests on their land. Taken together and over time, they expose the state to an increased risk that established pests will spread and have a growing impact on agriculture, forests, the environment, social amenity and public health.