NSW weed reform
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.
Read your local plan
- Central Tablelands
- Central West
- Greater Sydney
- North Coast
- North West
- Northern Tablelands
- South East
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.
Who is responsible for weed management in the Hunter region?
Most farmers are impacted by weeds. Weed control is part of most farming systems, whether it is to boost available feed for grazing livestock or to improve soil moisture storage in a crop.
All landholders and managers have an obligation to manage weeds. The NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 has repealed the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, which has provided regulatory controls and powers to manage noxious weeds in NSW.
The Hunter Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan outlines how government, industry, and the community will share responsibility and work together to identify, minimise, respond to and manage weeds.
The 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 (and the legislation that underpins it) is based on the premise that biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. It supports development of this culture, guiding the community in effective and coordinated management of weeds and meeting relevant statutory obligations.
What are the Local Control Authorities responsible for?
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) administers the Act and determines the weed species covered by regulatory tools such as Prohibited Matter, Control Orders and Biosecurity Zones.
Local Control Authorities (Local Councils and County Councils) are responsible for enforcing weed legislation. This includes such activities as:
- enforcing legislated weed management obligations on private and public land
- conducting weed inspections on public and private property
- inspecting and controlling weeds in high risk pathways and sites
- providing education, training and resources for both the public and staff in relation to weed management
- controlling weeds on lands managed by local government
- administering and ensuring compliance with any of the above regulatory tools and
- responding to breaches of the Act
For example, blackberry can be classed as an environmental weed and an agricultural weed, depending on the situation where it is occurring. It is also listed as one of Australia's Weeds of National Significance (WONS). Some cultivars are also grown for commercial blackberry production or in domestic gardens for berry harvest.
What is Hunter Local Land Services responsible for?
Hunter Local Land Services is responsible for weed management on travelling stock reserves that are not leased.
We are also responsible for providing advisory services to landholders and may provide general weed management advice as part of our planned pastures, farming systems and natural resource management advisory programs.
Hunter Local Land Services is not generally able to provide specific herbicide information that is available on the product label or recommendations that you would normally receive from an agricultural consultant or agronomist.
For specific weed management issues, the local weed control authority may be able to assist with advice on managing priority weeds on your land.
Regional Resources for Weeds
Hunter Regional Weeds is the best regional website for local information on weeds. You will find information on weeds, weeds control, weed campaigns, alerts, afcats sheets and contacts for Local Control Authority Weed Officers.
NSW WeedWise contains a database of all the weeds in NSW with information on identification, control, distribution and management, including herbicide treatment as well as your biosecurity duty for that weed. The NSW WeedWise database is also available as an app for android and iphone and works without having coverage so is very useful in the paddock.
For herbicide information: Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
Further information on the Biosecurity Act 2015