Everyone now knows how important it is to protect WA from diseases and other health risks, right?

Well did you know that one of our key regional environmental organisations has just been recognised through a national award as the leading group in Australia for actions towards protecting our native animals and plants?

South Coast Natural Resource Management has been recognised as a national leader in implementing biosecurity, winning the 2021 Australian Biosecurity Award in the Environmental Category. This prominent award was presented on the 10/11/2021 by the Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud at the National Biosecurity Forum. The award recognises South Coast NRM’s broad and long-term role in protecting our unique environment from a range of threats that affect the health of our ecosystems from diseases, pests and weeds -including feral cats, pigs, rabbits, feral bees and starlings, blackberry, African boxthorn, bridal creeper, Sydney golden wattle, Victorian tea-tree, prickly pear, cotton bush, gorse, and knotweed.

The award nomination makes particular mention of South Coast NRM’s Project Dieback and the significant contribution towards managing this devastating plant disease through the development of tools and resources, and the delivery of on-ground activities and awareness raising. South Coast NRM is a for-purpose environmental group regionally based on the South Coast of WA.As a part of caring for our region’s biodiversity, they advocate and lead projects around community-led, whole-of-landscape solutions to managing biosecurity threats. This collaborative and highly effective approach to biosecurity has been recognised as a key success factor in controlling pests, weeds and diseases in our environment. South Coast NRM has also been recognised for its success in developing advanced planning tools and resources, including a state-wide database for tracking and tracing where plant diseases exist.

South Coast NRM CEO Justin Bellanger thanked the Minister for Agriculture and his Department for the award, and highlighted the role of the community in managing biosecurity threats. “For us, effective management of pest, weeds and diseases is most easily achieved where the community works alongside government, industry and our research organisations” said Justin. “Western Australia is a big state with lots of places where things can invade and infect our environment. A broad and skilled network of ‘eyes on the ground’, coupled with the experience in professional organisations like South Coast NRM are an integral part of keeping our animals and plants safe”. South Coast NRM are building off their success in managing plant diseases to protect WA from new threats such as the risks posed by Myrtle Rust. The organisation has committed to continue to advocate and create collaborative, community-lead solutions which address biosecurity threats on a whole-of-landscape scale.