Bellingen gets weeds officer

TACKLING the weeds menace in the Bellingen Shire is about to step up a notch.

Council yesterday endorsed a recommendation to replace its casual weeds inspector with a full-time invasive plants officer in line with a new funding regime from the NSW Department of Industry and Investment.

Councillor Gordon Braithwaite was all for the structural change.

“About 10,000 weeds are now identified across the country and their numbers are growing as more plants escape from gardens to become a menace,” Cr Braithwaite said.

“The new position will be covered by State Government grants and so I endorse it.”

While the new invasive plants officer will earn $75,000 a year, on-costs such as equipment, a vehicle and training take the cost of the position to $105,000.

It was only when Cr Kerry Child inquired about the total cost of the existing part-time position that council’s total financial commitment became clear.

General manager Mike Colreavy said $140,000 had been allocated for council’s weeds budget.

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