Weeds are a major threat to our unique natural environment, threatening the survival of hundreds of native plants and animals in NSW alone. They also impact on the price of food, human health through allergies and asthma, recreational activities and the NSW economy.
Weed management is an essential activity which safeguards our economy, environment and community. We manage weeds in accordance with the NSW Biosecurity statutory framework and associated tools.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 everyone has a legal obligation to manage weeds on land that they own or occupy. In NSW, 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.
What is a weed?
Weeds can mean different things to different people or in different areas, but generally they can be described as plants growing outside their natural environment with an adverse impact on the economy, environment or local community.
A plant may be called a weed if it is:
- Not native to the area, including plants introduced from overseas or from far parts of Australia;
- Able to grow quickly - weeds are often the first plants to grow in disturbed soil;
- Able to reproduce more than other plants - some weeds produce thousands of seeds from a single flower; and
- Able to reproduce in multiple ways - a willow can grow from a cut branch resting on the soil.
The North West Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan supports regional implementation of the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 by articulating community expectations in relation to effective weed management and facilitating a coordinated approach to weed management in the Region.
The Plan identifies state and regionally prioritised weeds and outcomes to demonstrate compliance with the General Biosecurity Duty.
Weeds of National Significance
Under the National Weeds Strategy, 20 introduced plants were identified as Weeds of National Significance (WONS). These weeds are regarded as the worst weeds in Australia because of their invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.
National Environmental Alert Weeds
Under the National Weeds Strategy, 28 environmental weeds were identified National Environmental Alert Weeds. Alert weeds are non-native plant species that are in the early stages of establishment and have the potential to become a significant threat to biodiversity if they are not managed.
As a land manager, Tamworth Regional Council must prevent, eliminate or minimise the risk posed by weeds found on land under our control.
We are also the Local Control Authority for the Tamworth Regional Council local government area, which means we are responsible for administering and enforcing the Biosecurity Act 2015 with respect to weeds. This includes inspecting private and public lands to ensure owners/managers of land carry out their obligations.
We have developed a Pesticide Use Notification Plan so that members of the public have access to information on local pesticide use. The plan contains information on the public places where pesticides are used and the notification arrangements we use to inform the public.
By law biosecurity is everybody's business. Weeds threathen our biosecurity and come under the new Biosecurity Act in NSW.
Every person and organisation needs to do their bit to protect the economy, environment and ocmmunity from the risks posed by weeds. This is now part of your 'General Biosecurity Duty'.
If a weed poses a biosecurity risk in a particular area, but is not the subject of any specific legislation, Council's Authorised Officers believe that the owner/occupier of the land if failing in their biosecurity duty to control weeds on their land then they can issue a Biosecurity Direction to prevent, eliminate or minimise the biosecurity risk.
How can you help?
You can be proactive and take action against weeds now, by doing the following:
- Learn to recognise weeds and take early action to remove them from your property. Monitor areas where you have imported materials, or created disturbance, and be ready to control weeds as soon as they appear.
- Get unfamiliar plants identified by an expert if you suspect they may be weeds.
- Join or form a Bushcare or Landcare Group and become active in rehabilitating weedy areas.
- Talk to your friends and neighbours about environmental weeds. Discuss any weeds or potentially weedy garden plants they may have on their properties. Many people are willing to remove weeds once they are identified.
In the garden
Below is a list of things you can do to help prevent weeds growing in your garden:
- Don't dump garden waste - burn it, compost it, or take it to the tip in stout plastic bags. However, remember that plastic bags are easily broken. Do not take plant material carrying light wind-dispersed seed to the tip, unless it has been in a plastic bag long enough to have rotted first.
- Don't dump unwanted water plants into water bodies or into the drains. Don't buy aquarium plant with weed potential.
- Remove any weeds from your garden and replace them with plants that will not spread.
- Avoid planting any species whose seeds are packaged in edible berries which are not native to your local area, regardless of where you live, as birds can spread them over long distances. If you live close to the bush or other vegetation, alos avoid the weedier bulbs, any anything with fine wind-blown seed.
- Talk to your nursery about the weed potential of plants before you buy them.
- Do not extend your garden into adjacent vacant land.
- Eliminate nutrient-laden runoff from your garden.
- Don't use fertilisers unnecessarily.
- Collect animal faeces and compost them.
On the farm or rural block
Below is a list of things you can do to help prevent weeds growing on your farm or rural block:
- Avoid unnecessary soil disturbance.
- Avoid overgrazing as this creates ideal conditions for weed invasion.
- Monitor areas which have had machinery from outside the property, over them, for new weed arrivals.
- Clean off mowing and slashing equipment before moving between areas.
- Avoid driving over your property as much as possible, as it compacts the soil and may deposit weed seed.
- If you feed stock on fodder or grain transported from interstate, do so in a restricted area so that it can be monitored for weeds.
- Quarantine new livestock for several days so weed seeds can pass through them in a confined area that can be treated later.
- Don't shift stock straight from weedy areas into areas of remnant native vegetation - give them a week in a 'clean' paddock first.
- Get to know the timing of flowering and seed production of the weeds on your block; time your slashing, mowing or grazing to reduce seed set, and the distribution of seed once it has been produced.
- Be vigilant and act early - don't wait until a few plants turns into a major infestation.
Weeds in Australia
NSW Department of Primary Industries - NSW WeedWise
CSIRO - Weed Biological Control
NSW Department of Primary Industries - Weed