Victoria granting the chance for rabbit control to the community

A 2017 grants program for communities to take action on wild rabbits has today been announced by the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN).

Wild rabbits are a destructive pest animal in Victoria, and can destroy our cultural heritage, biodiversity and agricultural production systems.

The VRAN Community Action Grants will arm communities with integrated rabbit management programs throughout Spring and Summer.

The new calicivirus RHDV1 K5 was released in March 2017 to more than 550 sites across Australia to help combat the pest.

“The 2017 grants program will enable communities to enhance the impact of the virus by adding other control measures to the mix,” VRAN chair Gerald Leach said.

“Many community groups will be planning tree planting and other landscape restoration works,” Mr Leach said.

“I strongly recommend addressing your rabbit issue first, so your restoration project is successful in the long term, he said.

Local community groups in Victoria can apply for grants of between $2,000 and $5,000 as part of the 2017 Community Action Grant round, with $41,000 allocated to support important community activities.

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“Community support to manage rabbits is high, with more than 150 members throughout Victoria already volunteering to participate in the release of the virus,” Mr Leach said.

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Manager Established Invasive Animals John Matthews said he was pleased to see VRAN investing in these community grants to complement the release of the virus.

“The VRAN Community Action Grants provide an additional opportunity for communities to work together and plan rabbit management programs,” Mr Matthews said.

He said communities could not rely on the virus alone to reduce rabbits and that best practice rabbit management principles were also required.

The Community Action Grants for 2017 is an initiative of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN) and is funded a project by the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

More information on the Community Action Grants see www.rabbitaction.com