pen-and-padSOUTH Gippsland farmers take pride in their land, cleared with back breaking labour more than a century ago to make way for the most productive farms in the country.
That’s why they are livid when a rogue neighbour – on three acres or 300 – defies the code and allows the spread of noxious weeds.
When well-managed, the soils produce lush pastures. When neglected, weeds run riot.
The most damaging and invasive include ragwort, blackberries, thistles and docks.
In the past fortnight, the Sentinel-Times has been inundated with calls from farmers who want to dob in land owners who are, through neglect, promoting the spread of ragwort.
It thrives in our hilly environment if allowed to, and is poisonous to animals.
Some have confronted the landowners, some have reported them to authorities, but the concern is not enough is being done to stop it.
Their frustration comes at the reporting level.
Who is responsible?
Landcare, the local councils, the State Government…
Under the Coalition Government, it was simple – the Department of Environment and Primary Industries ticked all
the boxes.
That’s now changed with a new government.
Should we refer to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources; or the Department for Environment, Climate Change and Water?
With ragwort now more prolific on our highways than potholes, maybe we could also try the Department of Roads and Road Safety.
I digress. Farmers shouldn’t have to call the Sentinel-Times as the last resort for their genuine concerns. It’s a serious problem and penalties must be enforced.

Editor Nathan Johnston