The nursery and gardening industry has joined with the Australian Government in the fight against invasive garden plants. In championing this initiative, Nursery and Gardening Industry Australia (NGIA) is taking a significant step forward in tackling one of the nation's most serious environmental problems - the spread of weeds.
The Grow Me Instead campaign is a great industry-driven initiative providing relevant local information to nursery operators and gardeners about plants which are potential weeds in their area and less invasive plants for gardeners to use.
This cooperation between the horticulture and nursery industries, the Australian Government and weed management bodies will help ensure horticulturalists and gardeners receive the information they need to combat the spread of weeds.
It is estimated that weeds cost the Australian agricultural industry around $4 billion a year. The real cost of weeds to the environment is difficult to calculate, however it is likely to be at least equal to the cost to agriculture.
Of the almost 3000 introduced plant species now known to be established in the Australian environment, 65% are 'escaped' garden plants. An important step in preventing the spread of weeds is public education to help change attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the weed problem.
The Government is committed to investing in initiatives that have real on-ground benefits for the environment and for industry. We commend this initiative to you.
The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry