The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) distributed over $90,000 through our Community Grants Project in 2017/18 to 15 local projects across Victoria tackling gorse. These local projects saw 90 properties take up gorse control with on ground incentives, resulting in 309 hectares of gorse works completed over the year. Additionally, 85 new landholders signed up to 3-year Voluntary Management Agreements.
With funding support provided by the National Agriculture White Paper Project, the VGT expanded their capacity to promote and support gorse control works in 2017/18. Results accomplished through this funding include:
- An updated VGT website.
- Development and airing of a Community Service Announcement.
- A community survey project to better understand how gorse is affecting Victorian communities and how we can best support local people in gorse control.
White Paper funding support also saw a pilot mapping project undertaken on the Atlas of Living Australia to collate and ground truth records of gorse in the Moyne and Warrnambool local government areas. This project will be expanded in 2019 across Victoria through a series of community forums that aim to introduce the Atlas of Living Australia to communities as a powerful tool in biodiversity projects, both for on ground operations and project planning. This will allow the VGT and local communities to further define the extent of gorse within Victoria.
The VGT welcomed Heidi Snow as their first-ever Communications, Community Engagement and Extension Officer.
Heidi undertook a series of tasks to raise community awareness of gorse and support integrated gorse control across Victoria, including:
- Representing the VGT at expos and field days.
- Updating resources and releasing the new VGT Gorse Best Practice Guide.
- Developing and publishing two issues of Gorse Talk, the new VGT biannual newsletter.
- Liaising with and supporting stakeholders.
- Launching 2 pilot VGT Extension Projects on the Bellarine Peninsula and in the Hepburn Region.
The aim of the Extension Projects was to build the capacity of landholders and the community to confidently manage gorse. Extension Projects were run in partnership with local Landcare networks and councils to facilitate community connections and create ongoing support networks following the end of the projects.
Landowners in the target areas were sent material inviting them to visit a drop-in information session where they could discuss the project, access resources on gorse management, meet the extension officer and request a free property visit and gorse assessment. On request landholders received a brief property appraisal containing a map noting any gorse found on the property and tailored advice to their particular circumstances. Gorse was also surveyed for and mapped where present on areas of public land, with findings provided back to relevant public land managers.
The VGT Progress Report 2017/18 has been published and is available for download.
For further enquiries please contact Paige McDonald, Executive Officer, Victorian Gorse Taskforce on firstname.lastname@example.org.