Feedback welcome for Draft Rabbit Control Plan 2020-2024

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Residents will have eight weeks to comment on the Draft Rabbit Control Plan 2020-24, which outlines how the City will control rabbits on City-managed land and support the community to reduce impacts elsewhere.

Rabbits are an introduced species and are Australia’s most serious herbivore vertebrate pest. They degrade precious ecosystems by selectively grazing, promoting the spread of invasive weeds and aggressively competing with livestock for pasture. Many native plants and animals are negatively affected by competition and land degradation by rabbits.

The draft plan details how the City will prioritise areas for control and deliver an integrated rabbit control program across the municipality. It also outlines how the City will partner with Landcare groups and the community to effectively manage rabbits on private land. 

Some of the proposed actions over the next five years include:

  • Map warrens on priority sites and carry out extensive works;
  • Trial new and innovative control techniques;
  • Explore new monitoring technologies, such as remote sensing cameras and drones;
  • Partner with Landcare groups to develop programs to help landowners with rabbit control; and
  • Restore affected sites with activities like intensive weed control to encourage natural regeneration.

The plan has been shaped by expert advice, community input, the City’s responsibilities as a land manager and industry best-practice information.

The City received 580 specific comments from the community from workshops, surveys and focus groups. Sixty-three per cent of respondents felt that rabbit numbers have increased in their local area over the past three years.

The City’s Rural and Peri Urban Advisory Committee has already endorsed the draft plan.

The community is invited to comment on this draft between 1 July 2020 and 25 August 2020.

Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor

Pest control is a complex issue but there’s no doubt rabbits have caused serious damage to habitats, vegetation and farmland throughout our region.

In the past there’s been community interest in how the City and other landholders manage the issue, so I encourage residents to read this report, which is as thorough as it is interesting, and give their feedback.

Councillor Jim Mason, Chair, Rural and Coastal portfolio

Rabbits are a serious threat to Greater Geelong’s ecosystems and sustainability. This introduced pest prefers grazing on native seedlings and supports the spread of weeds. They degrade the environment and farmland, cause the erosion of waterways and undermine embankments.

Addressing damage caused by rabbits and preventing further harm to habitats and land is a vital part in protecting our region’s unique environment. The situation requires all stakeholders to participate to ensure success.

We have heard the community’s call to increase our rabbit control activities and this comprehensive plan adopts industry best practice to address this complex issue. This important strategy goes out for eight weeks of final community consultation before adoption by council.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2020