Practical environmental repair works to clean up small private plantations and removal of Tasmanian Blue gum ‘wildlings’ sprouting in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills is set to get underway.

The projects include removal and rehabilitation of bushfire-impacted pine and blue gum plantations at Cudlee Creek as well as blue gum plantations and wildling seedlings on Kangaroo Island.

More than $2.6 million is being jointly funded by the Morrison Coalition Government and Marshall Liberal Government under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the funding includes $1.8 million towards the projects on Kangaroo Island and $800,000 towards the Cudlee Creek project.

“’Wildlings’ have been sprouting in the wake of the fire and are now considered the largest post-fire pest weed threat to native vegetation on Kangaroo Island,” Minister Speirs said.

“These are fast-growing eucalypts, that if left unchecked, could change the habitat in the area and have far-reaching consequences for the environment.

“Earlier this year about 40 volunteers travelled to Kangaroo Island, led by the Nature Conservation Society of SA, Trees For Life, Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Kangaroo Island Conservation Landholders Association, to undertake control work.

“This new funding will enable an expansion of on-ground work, currently being managed by the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board in partnership with Department for Environment and Water, to tackle this issue.”

Works will be undertaken on small private landholdings and along roadsides, property verges and at on boundaries of parks, to stop the growth and spread of wildings in areas that may otherwise not be managed.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the additional funding will assist with the clean-up of small privately owned blue gum plantations.

“Within the fire scar on Kangaroo Island there is over 900ha of blue gum plantations owned by small landholders that were directly impacted by the bushfire,” Minister Basham said.

“This project will support small landholders with the clean-up and removal of burnt wood and return the areas to agricultural production.

“A similar project will make assistance available to landholders in the Cudlee Creek fire scar for similar work.

“Within the Cudlee Creek fire scar, there are an estimated 100 private properties with small pine and blue gum plantations that have been severely burnt as a result of the fires.

“Many of these plantations remain standing and are an issue for landholder safety and if they are not managed they are expected to fall within the next 4-8 years, ultimately posing a risk to human life and other assets.

“This project will provide support to remove damaged wood and return the areas to pasture, supporting agricultural productivity and economic outcomes for the impacted community.”

Publicly listed companies are required to maintain plantations and control spread of pest plants and will not be eligible for assistance under this initiative.

The three projects are being funded as part of the $700 million Local Economic Recovery program being delivered under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

They are the most recent debris and weed eradication initiatives that will support South Australia’s agricultural recovery from the bushfires, helping boost agricultural production on Kangaroo Island and at Cudlee Creek.

For more information visit: http://pir.sa.gov.au/local-economic-recovery