A MAN who failed to control rabbits on his property will pay more than $10,000 in fines after pleading guilty at the Ballarat Magistrates Court.
The 57-year-old Bacchus Marsh man pleaded guilty to charges last month including failing to comply with a land management notice and failing to take measures specified in a directions notice.
The court heard the man’s 17 hectare property was one of 69 inspected by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria as part of a rabbit compliance program across more than 3500 hectares in the Pentland Hills area in 2012-13.
Despite repeated requests from the DEPI, the man failed to complete the required control works. Magistrate Peter Mithen found the charges proven without conviction and released the man on a good behaviour bond for a year.
Mr Mithen also ordered the man donate $1500 to a local Landcare group, $4800 to cover part of DEPI’s legal costs and a further $3916 for costs associated with treating the warrens on his property.
DEPI program manager for invasive species Chelsea Wardrope said landowners were responsible for the management of declared weeds and pest animals on their properties.
“The inaction of some landholders can jeopardise the large investment and successes achieved in rabbit control by the broader community,” Ms Wardrope said. “Rabbits can severely impact on the regeneration of critical vegetation communities, replacing desirable species with weeds and are estimated to cost the farm sector some $200 million nationally every year.”