Changes to Weed Management in NSW
Submitted by New England Weeds Authority
Weed management legislation is about to change across the State with the implementation of the new Biosecurity Act 2015. The Biosecurity Act aims to better manage the negative impacts of animal and plant pests, diseases and weeds for the benefit of the people of NSW. It is expected the new Act will come into effect from 1st July 2017.
Biosecurity is currently managed under 14 separate pieces of legislation including the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. Streamlining these into a single Act will reduce red tape, simplify existing procedures and provide greater flexibility in managing biosecurity risks.
A fundamental principle of the new Biosecurity Act is that biosecurity is everyone's responsibility. This includes individuals, communities, industry and government. The values of shared responsibility will help to increase everyone's awareness of what they should and can do to manage biosecurity risks.
Weeds are a major threat to both our agricultural industries and our unique natural environment. They also impact on the price of food, human health through allergies including asthma, recreational activities and the larger NSW economy. The estimated cost of weeds on NSW agriculture alone is estimated to be $1.4 billion annually.
A keyconcept behind this new legislation is that everyone has a General Biosecurity Duty (GBD). AGBD requires that anyone dealing with a biosecurity risk, whether it be weeds, pests or diseases, must ensure the riskis prevented, eliminated or minimised. From a weed perspective this means landholders and managers must manage weeds on their land to reduce or prevent them impacting surrounding land.
Importantly, under the new Biosecurity Act, obligations on owners and occupiers of public land will be the same as the obligations on owners and occupiers of private land. This is a significant change from current arrangements under the Noxious Weeds Act where private landholders and local control authorities have more onerous weed control obligations than other public land managers.
“The first stage of implementation will be around educating the community on their obligations under the new legislation”
said Wayne Deer, General Manager for New England Weeds Authority. “The key message is to keep managing weeds on your land, prevent them spreading to neighbors and to keep an eyeout for any new weeds appearing on your land.”