The Pilbara Regional Biosecurity Group (RBG), which supports and coordinates pest and weed management programs, is building momentum with a new committee and Executive Officer appointed and plans in place for the coming financial year.
The Pilbara RBG Management Committee met in Karratha on 9 April where they endorsed an operational plan and budget for next financial year that includes a community aerial baiting program for wild dogs, a radio telemetry program for feral donkey control in the east and central Pilbara, and working with the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee
on targeted weed control.
The Management Committee also discussed whether stations along RBG boundaries should be in the Pilbara, Kimberley, Carnarvon or Meekatharra RBG areas, and talked about ideas to provide additional services to other land managers across the Pilbara and deliver shared biosecurity outcomes.
The Pilbara RBG recently announced the appointment of an Executive Officer, Bill Currans, to support the operations of the RBG and the Management Committee. Mr Currans started the new role in March 2015 and has started work with the Management Committee and some stations around the boundaries of the RBG area to determine which RBG should be responsible for rating and servicing these stations.
Mr Currans brings extensive experience in natural resource management planning to the Executive Officer position, which is currently funded by Rangelands NRM and the WA State NRM Office.
"The Pilbara is a great region to be working in, with a lot of opportunities for all land managers to work together on biosecurity activities,” he said.
“I have been warmly welcomed by pastoralists across the region. All declared pest rate payers are full members of the Pilbara RBG, and I'm keen to keep all members informed of biosecurity activities and results achieved."
Geoff Mills of Wallal Downs Station was recently appointed the Chairperson of the Management Committee, with Annette Mills of Warrawagine Station appointed as the Vice Chairperson. Kim Parsons of Coolawanyah Station has the combined role of Secretary/Treasurer.
“Geoff, Annette and Kim bring a great range of skills and expertise to the RBG, along with a good geographic spread across the Pilbara,” said Mr Currans.
Committee members Jamie Richardson and Digby Corker also bring both pastoral biosecurity experience and a long involvement with the RBG and previous biosecurity organisations in the Pilbara.
The Management Committee has associate members from the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee, the Pilbara Corridors project, the Department of Parks and Wildlife, and Rio Tinto.
Mr Mills said the Management Committee was well structured to deliver on biosecurity responsibilities across the Pilbara.
“We are committed to making sure the rates collected are spent efficiently and that joint efforts are well coordinated between all land managers across the Pilbara for the control of wild dogs and large herbivores such as donkeys," he said.
Members of the Pilbara RBG at April 2015 meeting in Karratha. L to R: Ostiane Massiani (Pilbara Corridors), John Bettini (De Grey Station), Kim Parsons (Coolawanyah Station), Jamie Richardson (Mt Florence Station), Andrew Longbottom (Biosecurity Officer DAFWA), Linda Anderson (Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee), Geoff Mills (Chairman), and Bill Currans (Executive Officer).