In a statewide first, Latrobe City Council has secured an exemption from the state government to remove a native plant that has taken over a number of reserves in the Latrobe Valley to allow other native plants to flourish.
The Ollerton Bushland Reserve committee of management has been working with Latrobe City councillors Sharon Gibson and Graeme Middlemiss for almost a decade to have the influx of burgan plants removed from the Newborough reserve, as well as the Moe Yallourn Rail Trail and Crinigan Road Reserve in Morwell.
According to council officers, burgan dominates and prevents other native plants from flourishing in a number of reserves around the Latrobe Valley.
Cr Gibson, who is part of the committee, said the burgan also presented a fire hazard, due to the way it creates a thick layer of growth, suffocating the growth of other plants.
"We've had members of the community who live near here, who were on the committee but are off the committee now, because they have been fearing for their life every summer," she said.
"So in utter frustration and anger, they left the committee.
"We want a reserve that is in the best position that the community can enjoy, that is safe for them, but also keeping in mind the environmental issues."
The burgan will now be removed in a joint effort by contractors and the committee.
"The committee is here, they've hung in there and they are learning how to get rid of the burgan," Cr Gibson said.
"You have to cut it and within seconds you have to paint poison on it, otherwise bad luck, it comes back and all your work will be for nothing.
"Unless you are part of one of these committees, you don't realise what an issue it is, you look and think 'oh it is just plants' but it kills everything under it.
"If you had plants that you wanted that could survive and grow like this you'd be laughing."
When asked how it felt to be able to remove the burgan from Ollerton Bushland Reserve after 10 years, committee chair Kevin Jones simply said "yahoo".
"We've had a number of members resign in frustration," he said.
"It has appeared on the agenda for months and months and nothing happened.
"It is a really significant breakthrough."