NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has unveiled the NSW Plague Locust Emergency Preparedness Response Plan, an $18.5 million strategy to fight the state’s worst locust plague in 30 years.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the NSW Farmers Association, Keneally pointed out that, in the past, such campaigns have proven effective and the government hopes to save as much as $370 million worth of crops.
“Our farmers have fought through a long drought and a winter deluge and we are now stepping in to help them protect their crops,” she said.
“A combination of warm, wet weather earlier this year has resulted in extensive egg laying, which means NSW is preparing for what could be the worst Australian plague locust outbreak in more than 30 years.”
The details of the plan include the ordering of enough insecticide to treat over half a million hectares of locusts and the placement of 40 crop dusting aircraft on stand-by over spring and summer.
In addition, there will be in excess of 100 field staff on call and mapping and planning teams assigned to the problem. Plague Locust Management Group meetings involving government, industry representatives and the NSW Farmers’ Association are also planned.