Forward this email | View in web browser
17 May 2018

Welcome to the Weeds and Rabbits Project’s May newsletter.

With the first full year of the project behind us now, we’re starting to see results from our community group grants projects. We’re also rolling out a number of new initiatives on community participation, leadership and compliance. Read on for updates on all of this.

Please also feel free to share this newsletter with your own networks – new readers can subscribe via the link at the end of this newsletter or by emailing the project team on

Off to a flying start
Representatives from VRAN, Parks Victoria and Aboriginal Victoria meeting to plan the 2018 rabbit bootcamp. Funding from the Weeds and Rabbits Project has enabled VRAN to engage a wider range of stakeholders in planning this year's program.

With the first full year of the Weeds and Rabbits Project behind us, we took some time in late 2017 to stop, reflect and look at what’s working and where we can improve. As part of this process, we asked people who have participated in the project so far tell us what changes they’d seen as a result.

We found that the four community pest management groups – rabbits, blackberries, gorse and serrated tussock – are collaborating more and sharing their knowledge. Their members have a better understanding of how pests are managed in Victoria, where their group fits into the bigger picture, and how they can work with others more effectively.

We’ve also seen institutional changes, like new governance structures, that are better supporting both community-led decision making and the way government agencies engage with groups and administer projects.

Do you have a story to share about how the project has affected your organisation, community, or pest management activities? We’d love to hear from you.

Image: Representatives from the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN), Parks Victoria and Aboriginal Victoria meeting to plan the 2018 rabbit bootcamp. Funding from the Weeds and Rabbits Project has enabled VRAN to engage a wider range of stakeholders in planning this year's program. Credit: Heidi Kleinert.

Where are all the young people?

Getting young people engaged in managing established invasive species is a perennial challenge.

To work out how we can support youth participation, we’re going straight to the source. We’re inviting young people to tell us how can we inspire, connect and empower them to get involved in the invasive species system?

Later this year we’ll be hosting a workshop with Intrepid Landcare, where we’ll explore ideas and develop a new grants program aimed at boosting the participation of young people.

The workshop and grants program are open to all ages, regardless of your skill set or previous pest management experience. If you’ve got an idea that needs support, or would like to see more young people involved in your community, please get in touch.

Image: Gippsland Intrepid Landcare's recent retreat at Sandy Point, where volunteers removed invasive weeds, learnt to surf and discussed ideas for boosting community participation. Intrepid Landcare groups aim to connect young people (aged 18 to 35) to the environment through real environmental projects and adventure. Credit: Gippsland Intrepid Landcare.

Featured videos
A Victorian Gorse Taskforce video on fire risk and gorse.

Gorse and fire: gorse on your property can be a major fire risk. Watch this video produced by the Victorian Gorse Taskforce.

A Victorian Blackberry Taskforce video about building community ownership of plackberry management.

Blackberry action: building community ownership of blackberry management. Watch this video produced by the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce. 

A Victorian Rabbit Action Network video on managing rabbits in a peri-urban environment.

Rabbits in the ‘burbs: a local government perspective on managing peri-urban rabbits. Watch this video produced by the Victorian Rabbit Action Network. 

A Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party video on managing serrated tussock with a whole-of-community approach.

A community approach: serrated tussock is best managed through a whole-of-community approach. Watch this video prioduced by the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party. 

Updates from the project partners

The four project partners - the community pest management groups for blackberry, rabbits, serrated tussock and gorse - are delivering a series of community projects with funding from the Weeds and Rabbits Project. Read on for updates on this work.

Building blackberry action in your community
The VBT Start-Up Kit for community action on blackberry

Is your community concerned about blackberry? Are you interested in how people can collectively manage weeds?

The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce supports local groups to establish Community Blackberry Action Groups. Its Start-Up Kit can help your community take control of the problem.

The kit, which has recently been updated, contains interactive videos and templates to help communities start their own blackberry action groups, plus practical advice and insights based on the experiences of established groups around Victoria.

Contact the VBT to receive a free copy of the Start-Up Kit:

Spreading the word on rabbits

The Leaps and Bounds Learning Network is about boosting the expertise and strengthening the support networks of Victorian community members who manage rabbits.

At its most recent meeting, network members explored rabbit management for large-scale conservation projects, cultural heritage legislation and the recent K5 biological control release. A visit to the Mt Rothwell conservation reserve highlighted the challenge rabbits pose for conservation and cultural heritage, but also the positive impact a small band of dedicated people can have on a landscape.

The Victorian Rabbit Action Network will be starting a new Rabbit Learning Network in 2018. If you or someone you know is interested in joining, contact Heidi Kleinert from Agriculture Victoria:

Image: VRAN mentor John Matthews (centre) and Learning Network participants at the Mt Rothwell conservation reserve. Credit: Lauren Hull.

New resources to tackle serrated tussock

The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party is working to support the community to manage serrated tussock in the core infestation area west of Melbourne.

The group is working closely with new landowners in the area to ensure they’re equipped to manage this weed. A new extension officer will be providing additional support to landowners and local council around Sunbury and Diggers Rest.

A recent best-practice management field day in Diggers Rest attracted 42 landowners and community members to see treatment demonstrations and discuss integrated control options.

Further field days are planned for spring 2018. For more information contact

Image: VSTWP members Lance Jennison (left) and John Burgess (right) with Cassie Borg from Hume City Council at a recent serrated tussock workshop. Credit: Ivan Carter.

Gorse extension, engagement and grants
VGT's Heidi Snow and John Cable at a recent field day.

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) has appointed Heidi Snow as its new Communications, Community Engagement and Extension Officer.

Heidi will be busy over the next 12 months meeting with land managers at field days, developing gorse control publications and delivering VGT events – all in the name of promoting coordinated best-practice gorse management across Victoria.

The VGT is also providing new extension services to landowners in the Bellarine Peninsula and Hepburn Shire. This includes free property visits and tailored gorse management information.

And the VGT’s annual community grants program is now open until 5 June, with funding available for on-ground works as well as awareness building.

To keep up to date with VGT activities, follow their new Facebook page.

Image: VGT's Heidi Snow and John Cable at a recent field day.

Do you know about a good social change project?

Victoria’s community-led approach to pest and weed management is fundamentally about working with local communities to support social change. We are always looking for inspiration to help make this approach more effective.

If you know of any examples of innovative social change initiatives, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re especially interested in case studies from areas outside of pest management where institutional or behavioural changes have resulted in benefits for the community. If you know of any examples – big, or small, local, national or international - please get in touch.

Let us know...

Do you have questions or comments about the Weeds and Rabbits Project? Or an opportunity for us to connect with what’s going on in your area? Email us at

Do you need support with a pest or weed problem? Find advice or a a local contact at one of the community pest management groups:


Privacy | Email:


If you would like to subscribe to the Weeds and Rabbits project newsletter please subscribe online or contact

This newsletter is distributed by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.