Calls for a NSW Indigenous Commissioner for Country and 300 new frontline jobs for pest and weed control in NSW
23 February 2023 - The Greens are calling for a new Indigenous Commissioner for Country and a minimum investment of $37.5 million/year for 300 new full time equivalent positions in frontline weed and pest management programs.
The NSW Indigenous Commissioner for Country would advise on the management of invasive species and their impact on indigenous culture and country. The frontline positions should be distributed according to needs based modelling but Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Local Councils and DPI biosecurity should all be included as priority focusses to manage weeds and pests across all NSW land tenures, ports and borders.
Greens MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for the environment and agriculture said “The NSW Government is failing to control the spread of pests and weeds across all land tenures and should heed calls from First Nations people, conservationists and land managers that more needs to be done,
“Invasive species are threatening First Nations cultural heritage throughout NSW and there is simply not enough effort being made to understand and counteract the damage being done,
“The damage caused by invasive species to sacred areas, native species and the landscape has a deep and lasting impact on First Nations communities. An Indigenous Commissioner for Country would give First Nations people a leadership role in invasive species management and ensure that we are respecting the knowledge and understanding that indigenous communities have,
“We need to better involve First Nations people in land management and create dedicated positions from leadership to frontline so they can put their knowledge and understanding of country to work solving the problems we face,
“The agencies responsible for invasive species management in NSW are understaffed and underfunded, they cannot complete the job that they have to do without a significant reinvestment by the Government,
“Natural disasters and biosecurity threats have shown that there are not enough resources dedicated to invasive species management. The rapidly changing disaster response requirements and climatic changes has allowed core invasive species management work unable to be completed and the Government should recognise that the situation is unsustainable,
“A permanent increase of 300 frontline staff is the absolute minimum requirement to get us on track with invasive species management. As the largest land manager in NSW, the Government has a responsibility to private landholders and the environment to get on top of invasive species management and that is going to take a significant commitment to expand this vital work force,