Appetite for work

A goat with a mountainous appetite for weeds at the Hallam level crossing removal site. 261403_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS

A herd of goats at a Hallam works site is happy to work for their feed.

Six of the insatiable animals are grazing on a diet of weeds growing on a soil stockpile at the Hallam Road level crossing removal site.

The goats are neither fazed by the steep slopes or the thick vegetation, says Level Crossing Removal Project environmental manager Mathew Boomsma.

“We need to remove weeds from the site – they’re very thick and very tough – which is the perfect task for goats.

“They’ll eat most weed species, they can handle the stockpile’s steep batters, and they will happily continue eating through most weather conditions.”

The environmentally-friendly solution means weed killer doesn’t need to be sprayed, which protects the sensitive Hallam Valley wetland nearby.

The wetlands are home to the endangered Dwarf Galaxias fish.

The project’s team has also collected eight tonnes of rubbish from the roadside to prevent it washing into drains and wetlands.

Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan said the use of goats to keep the weeds down was a “great sustainability initiative”.

As a whole, the level-crossing removal – which includes a rail bridge over Hallam Road and a new train station – would improve safety and traffic flow in the area, he said.

About 20,000 motorists pass through the level crossing each day.

The Pakenham rail line is expected to be level-crossing free by 2025, leading to more frequent trains.