The spread of prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica) and other declared weeds across property boundaries creates new infestations, expands existing infestations and threatens the investments made by landholders to control their weeds. In some circumstances, this encroachment creates conflict between owners of adjoining properties, due to varying attitudes and control objectives.
The Flinders Shire Council developed a ‘good neighbour’ policy and program as part of the Flinders Shire Council pest management plan: 2012–2016 to reduce potential conflict between landholders in regard to varied prickly acacia management aspirations and activities.
The Good Neighbour Program (GNP) includes key actions and procedures aimed at reducing the spread (prevention and containment) of pest plants impacting neighbours within the Flinders Shire local government area.
The development of weed-free property boundary protection zones was identified by Flinders Shire Council as one way of reducing spread. This is particularly relevant for prickly acacia, which is primarily moved by cattle.
Through their GNP, the council has opted for the establishment of weed-free protection zones. This boundary protection zone approach had not been implemented on a broad scale and the feasibility of establishing such buffers was untested. The War on Western Weeds project, a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) initiative to improve prickly acacia management, provided an opportunity to undertake a pilot study of property boundary protection zone implementation.
The case study was co-led by DAF, Flinders Shire Council and Southern Gulf Catchments Ltd (SGC), in partnership with participating landholders.