NSW Weed Reforms
Weeds reform background
The Natural Resource Commission Weeds Review 2014 found significant differences in the effectiveness of weed management across NSW. This was largely because of complex processes and duplications in planning, delivery and funding arrangements.
The weed reforms provide an opportunity to deliver better outcomes on a landscape scale and allow operations across both organisational and tenancy boundaries.
The responsibilities of Local Land Services are defined in the Natural Resource Commission Weed Review recommendations as:
- delivering regional strategic weed management plans
- facilitating and coordinating regional strategic planning
- assisting with education and community outreach programs.
We were given responsibility for replacing 14 existing Weed Advisory Committees with 11 statutory Regional Weed Committees. These regional committees are made up of Local Control Authorities, public and private landholders and community members and support regional planning under the Biosecurity Act.
Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans
Each Regional Weeds Committee has developed a five-year Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan to focus on managing weed biosecurity. The plans are based on the best available local knowledge, research and technology and a rigorous assessment of the biosecurity risks posed by weeds, as well as the:
- Natural Resource Commission’s recommendations for weed reform adopted by the NSW Government
- Biosecurity Act 2015
- Natural Resource Commission’s 2015 Performance Standard for Local Land Services.
The plans articulate how the region’s communities and stakeholders will work together to identify, minimise, respond to and manage high-risk weeds, supporting the principle of a shared responsibility under the new biosecurity legislation.
A key part of developing the plans was the review and prioritisation of weeds in the regions. This resulted in the priority weed list (Appendix 1 of the plans) and other regional weed lists (Appendix 2 of the plans), using a risk-based approach that is internationally recognised.
Priorities of the plans
The goals and objectives of the plans align with those of the NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-21 and the Local Land Services Strategic Plan 2016-2021, which provides the overarching policy framework.
The goals of the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans are that:
- Responsibility for weed biosecurity is shared by all people of the region.
- Weed biosecurity supports profitable, productive and sustainable primary industries.
- Weed biosecurity supports healthy, diverse and connected natural environments.
- Weed biosecurity is supported by coordinated, collaborative and innovative leadership.
The outcomes expected to be achieved by these goals and more specific and measurable objectives and strategies are outlined in the plans.
A key element of this plan is a collaborative and coordinated approach to weed management across all tenures. Business planning components will include policies, processes and procedures for collaborative planning and action with key stakeholders in the region. Business planning will focus on:
- Regional Weed Committee Coordination
- Local implementation roles and responsibilities
- Processes for integrating regional delivery and projects
- Compliance planning
- High-risk weed incursion planning
- Rapid response planning
- Local control authority planning
- State Guidelines and best practice codes
- Communication and marketing
- Key performance indicator development
- Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement coordination
- Research and development collaboration
- Investment planning
- Procedures for review of weed listings in the plan.
Measuring and reporting on progress against key performance indicators is particularly important, as are practices that promote reflection and learning to inform decision making.
Performance measures will be further developed following approval of the plans and will allow the reporting of progressive impacts of interventions and investment in priorities.
Review and reporting of the performance against the plans will occur annually. A component of the review will be an evaluation of the regional contribution to the new biosecurity reforms and their influence on weed management across the regions.