Biosecurity - Weeds
Biosecurity – Weeds
From 1 July 2017 the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinates came into effect.
An Act to provide modern, flexible tools and powers that allow effective, risk-based management of biosecurity in NSW. It will increase efficiency and decrease regulation in responding to biosecurity risks and provides a streamlined statutory framework to protect the NSW economy, environment and community from the negative impact of pests, diseases and weeds.
Full details on the Biosecurity Act and the impact it may have on you can be found on Department of Primary Industries Weeds website.
Weeds are often grouped in categories depending on their characteristics and impacts. Many weeds occur in more than one category. For example, alligator is a water weed and is also listed as one of Australia's Weeds of National Significance.
In NSW all plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Weed control and identification For control information on specific weeds see NSW WeedWise
The NSW Weeds Action Program 2015-2020 (WAP1520) follows, and builds on, the successful implementation of the NSW Weeds Action Program 2010-2015.
It is a NSW Government initiative to reduce the impact of weeds and is guided by the NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-2021 (the Biosecurity Strategy) and the NSW Invasive Species Plan 2015-2020 (the ISP).
During the 2013-14 review of weed management in NSW, the Natural Resources Commission investigated several issues of community concern resulting in eight key recommendations. The Government response to the review was endorsed by Cabinet in September 2014. Implementation of the recommendations will require changes to existing regional delivery models.
The key recommendation relevant to WAP1520 is: Recommendation 3: Ensure consistent and coordinated regional planning and local delivery:
3B - Replace the existing 14 regional weed advisory committees with 11 statutory regional weed committees comprising LCAs, public and private landholders, and community members as subcommittees to LLS, and aligned with LLS borders 3C - Provide a legislative basis for tasking the regional weed committees with developing regional plans and priorities for weeds and surveillance.
The NSW Government is committed to implementing this recommendation and has identified WAP1520 as a key driver to deliver these changes. The establishment of the new committees is a high priority as they will assist regional planning requirements under the proposed NSW Biosecurity Act. Transitional arrangements for the establishment of these committees are described in the Guidelines (PDF, 323.38 KB).
Although the guidelines are sufficient to complete an application, Regional Invasive Species Officers will also be available to assist and should be the first point of contact for any queries.
Landholders Responsibilities and Obligations
Each landholder and/or occupier has a legal requirement to control biosecurity matter (weeds) on their property and should develop an effective control strategy and plan to ensure they meet their General Biosecurity Duty.
What is the General Biosecurity Duty?
The General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) provides that any person who deals with biosecurity matter or a carrier, and who knows (or ought reasonably to know) of the biosecurity risk posed ( or likely to be posed), has a biosecurity duty to ensure that the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised - so far as is reasonably practicable.
Simply, the general biosecurity duty means that all public and private land owners or managers and all other people who deal with weed species (biosecurity matter) must use the most appropriate approach to prevent, eliminate or minimise the negative impact (biosecurity risk) of those weeds.
Where any owner/occupier fails in their biosecurity duty to control weeds on their land, the Council may issue a Biosecurity Direction that prohibits, regulates, or controls the carrying out of an activity in connection with the biosecurity matter, carrier or potential carrier identified above. It is mandatory to comply with this biosecurity direction.
Failure to comply with the conditions of a biosecurity direction could results in a penalty notice or prosecution.
Property Purchasers - "Buyer Beware"
The purchase of rural land is a major decision and the presence of Biosecurity Matter (Weeds), and the continuing cost of managing weed infestations, is often either not considered or forgotten.
Before signing a contract, prospective purchasers should carefully consider the following:
- Are there biosecurity risks (weed infestations) on the land?
- Are weed infestations being managed?
- What are the costs of the continual weed control?
- If the land is to be used for farming, will weed infestations lead to production losses?
Privacy laws prevent Council from disclosing weed infestation information to prospective buyers without the owner's consent, however by asking these questions, purchasers can be more informed before signing on the dotted line.
What should I do before purchase?
Arrange for someone who knows about weeds to inspect the property with you. If weeds are found, a weed spraying contractor can provide an estimate of how much control work will cost. Council does not provide information on such costs, however there are a number of weed spraying contractors in the area which can be found in the yellow pages.
The small cost of an independent inspection will assist you in making an informed decision regarding the land in question.