Hepburn Shire has received $37,000 from the Victorian Government to control roadside weeds and pests.

Minister for Local Government Melissa Horne announced the funding on Wednesday.

Weeds and pests cost the Victorian economy over $900 million each year by disrupting agricultural production, damaging native biodiversity and contributing to the spread of fires.

The funding will assist  Hepburn Shire Council with a range of activities along their rural roadsides, including treating and preventing ‘regionally controlled’ and ‘restricted’ weeds, managing rabbit populations and community consultation.

‘Regionally controlled’ weeds are defined as being widespread in a region, requiring landowners to prevent their growth and spread, while ‘restricted’ weeds are considered a serious threat to all states and territories.

Trading ‘restricted’ weeds and their propagules, either as plants, seeds, or contaminants, in other materials, is banned.

Weeds can be categorised differently depending on where they are in the state. For example, Ragwort is ‘Controlled’ in Corangamite, Glenelg, East and West Gippsland, Port Phillip and Western Port, but it is ‘Prohibited’ in Goulburn and Northeast Victoria and ‘Restricted’ in Mallee, North Central Victoria and the Wimmera.

The Government is investing $11.5 million over four years in the Weeds and Pests Control Program, providing greater protections for agriculture, roads and the environment.