House debates

Monday, 22 February 2016

Statements by Members

Indi Electorate: Mitta to Murray Blackberry Action Group

4:31 pm

Photo of Cathy McGowanCathy McGowan (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting members of the Cathedral Landcare Group who work in the Upper Goulburn, and I had the joy of talking to them about a very successful Landcare control project that is happening in north-east Victoria. The Mitta to Murray Blackberry Action Group, known as M2MBAG, is a western Towong Shire community-led project that is encouraging landholders to work collaboratively in the eradication of blackberries from properties to improve production, access and versatility of our farms. Blackberry removal also increases biodiversity, reduces pest animals and improves the overall asset.

The M2MBAG group is entering its fifth year of operation with 107 landholders who have committed to treating their blackberries after having had their properties mapped for eradication control. This project with the landowners has managed 26,000 hectares of private land, and the mapping has been undertaken by a project officer who meets with the landholder and discusses the various philosophies, their time pressures and available equipment. Then, together, they devise a practical plan to operate over the next three years under a voluntary agreement.

The M2MBAG is coordinated by a voluntary management committee with representatives from Towong Shire, landowners and six volunteer groups—DELWP, Parks Victoria, North East CMA, Goulburn-Murray Water, HVP Plantations and AgriWealth. Congratulations on a great job. Well done.