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Key Information on Weeds Management & Local Governments

The New South Wales government delivers services to communities across the state. These are grouped broadly into five core functions: protecting the environment, ensuring infrastructure is available, protecting public health, supporting community development, and planning for sustainable development.

Amongst these five core services is the management of weeds. There are various weeds creating various issues across NSW; the councils are ideal for making informed decisions on weeds management by the community. Responsive weeds management is an ongoing component of local government work that’s strategic.

The NSW Local Government & Managing Weeds

For more than 100 years, the New South Wales (NSW) local government has been legally responsible for managing weeds on their lands. Their current policy is established under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act), a comprehensive legal framework for managing invasive weeds. 

This framework is implemented through the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 (the Regulation), which specifies how the policy will be implemented.

The National Weeds Act designates council members to act as the local control authority for weeds within their area of jurisdiction. This allows them to continue managing weeds while other key stakeholders support their initiative.

Councils are responsible for controlling weeds under the Act unless that responsibility has been delegated to other local government bodies (as defined by the Local Government Act 1993). They take care of weeds on all lands within their jurisdictions.

As the local control authorities for weeds, it’s important for local governments to:

  • appoint and support staff as authorised officers under the Act
  • control weeds deemed to be high-risk
  • educate their communities about weeds risk and best practices for weeds management
  • inspect lands for high-risk weeds and seek compliance with the Act from owners/occupiers
  • participate in regional strategic weeds management through their Regional Weed Committee.
  • submit weeds management records to the NSW government

Biosecurity: What Is It?

“Biosecurity,” is the term for protecting the economy, environment and community from negative effects stemming from diseases, pests, contaminants, and, yes, weeds.

In the context of weeds, biosecurity includes:

  • finding, containing and eradicating emerging weeds
  • minimising the impacts from weeds that cannot be eradicated
  • preventing new weeds from entering

What Makes Weeds Biosecurity Risks?

The environment, economy and community are harmed by weeds given that they:

  • boost bushfire intensity
  • carry pests and diseases
  • cause injury, allergies, poisoning, and respiratory problems for humans and animals
  • clog waterways which prevents boating and water sports, increases the risk of drowning and ruins fishing spots
  • lower the natural beauty and monetary value of the land
  • outcompete and displace native plants and animals
  • reduce the quantity and quality of agricultural, horticultural and forestry products
  • restrict animal access to water sources and shade
  • threaten natural and cultural heritage sites

Conclusion

Weeds can be quite the issue for many reasons. Thankfully, they are named in the Biosecurity Act, which means local governments and councils are in charge, particularly in New South Wales. Weeds are biosecurity risks because they carry pests and diseases, threaten natural and cultural heritage sites as well as outcompeting and displace native plants and animals.

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