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Mice Plague - Where's the Government?

18 March, 2021
Mice Plague - Where's the Government?  Image

I have repeatedly raised the issue of the mouse plague that is affecting parts of Barwon and only spreading further with the Minister for Agriculture.

Minister Marshall has advised me that the NSW Government has written to the Federal Government requesting permission from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority to allow our farmers and local Councils to use restricted poisons and off label mixing to get on top of the plague. That is not looking likely. The poisons we used 40 years ago are no longer approved due to collateral kills. This contact with Minister Marshall was over a month ago, since then he has gone silent on the issue.

I’ve also written to Mark Coulton, the Federal Member for Parkes requesting him to put pressure on his colleagues to get a decision on a way forward with this. Mark has responded to me saying that he has appealed to the Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. I have heard nothing from the Federal Government since this email was received a month ago.

We can’t sit around and wait for a cold snap to fix this problem, the mice are damaging crops jeopardising post drought recovery. Our communities are also being overrun with mice which is having a hugely negative effect on people’s wellbeing. I’m being told by people that they are being bitten by mice in their own beds of a night – which is effecting their mental health. This is happening right across the eastern side of the electorate including in Narrabri.

I know people are doing their best to get on top of the mice in their own homes laying baits and traps but there is fast becoming a shortage of these products in some communities. I’m also being contacted by people that simply cannot afford to spend a couple of hundred dollars on baits to get on top of the mice in their own home. I called on the NSW Government to subsidise the cost of baits so they become accessible to more people. This subsidisation needs to happen immediately.

I have been in frequent contact with NSW Farmers, the Country Women’s Association, and Local Government who are all calling for assistance from the State and Federal Government. From the NSW Nationals on this issue it has been crickets.

In Australia mice plagues do happen from time to time, it’s astounding to me that the Government isn’t prepared for this type of event. There should be established plague plans for when these events occur so we can hit the button on getting government action right away rather than running around trying to get approvals when they need to be out there taking action.

I recently delivered a Notice of Motion in Parliament regarding this issue stating: 

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move that this house:

  1. Acknowledges the growing issue of mice in regional areas and their impact on towns, agriculture, businesses and people’s well-being.
  2. Notes that in some areas has been an issue for months.
  3. Notes that no assistance in meeting the cost of baiting has been forthcoming from the NSW Government.
  4. Calls on the NSW Government to immediately subsidise the cost of baiting to residents, businesses and farmers in regional areas; and support the calls of the NSW Farmers.

When I delivered that motion the Agriculture Minster was in the Chamber, he cannot deny that he has heard the calls to take action and yet still we see no Government assistance to get on top of this devastating plague.

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