Councils stung by cuts to wasp program

The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) has warned that cuts to the State Govenrment’s European Wasp program will put public health at risk.

The Department of Agriculture and Food has terminated the nest removal and destruction component of the 32-year –old program.

WALGA president Troy Pickard said this decision will result in wasps becoming established in communities by as early as June.

“The impact upon communities if European Wasps become established includes risks to public health, to our horticultural and tourism sectors and to our current way of life enjoying an outdoor lifestyle and backyard BBQs,” Cr Pickard said in a statement.

“In some areas of South Australia, for example, outdoor eating facilities at vineyards have had to close due to the proliferation of these pests.”

Cr Pickard said the removal and destruction of wasp nests would now become the responsibility of local government staff or hired contractors.

“To turn from a small, effective and highly responsive team with Statewide reporting and biosecurity powers to at least 100 different points of contact within kocal government ensuring timely responses to public reports alongside their current workload is entirely impractical,” he said.

“I urge the State Government to continue funding what has proven to be a highly effective method of preventing a serious pest from affecting our enviable outdoor lifestyle, our environment and our tourism industry.”

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