From 1 July 2017 the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act) and its subordinates came into effect replacing all or part of 14 Acts including the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.
The Act provides modern, flexible tools and powers that allow effective, risk-based management of biosecurity in New South Wales, increases efficiency and decreases regulation in responding to biosecurity risks, and provides a streamlined statutory framework to protect the state's economy, environment and community from the negative impact of pests, diseases and weeds.
Adopted from the original author Philip Blackmore, State Priority Weeds Coordinator – South East and Murray:
The purpose of the Biosecurity Act 2015 is to prevent, eliminate or minimise the biosecurity risk that is caused by the spread of weeds.
Weed spread in this case means the introduction and establishment of weeds in an area where they did not previously occur. This is different from an increase in weed density in an area where the weed has already established but at varying densities across numbers of properties.
To be considered as a target for compulsory control under the Biosecurity Act, a weed species will have potential to cause harm to individual and community interests, can be effectively controlled by reasonable and cost effective means and will currently have limited distribution within a region but have the potential to spread and to establish in areas where the weed does not currently occur.
Proposals for imposing or continuing to impose compulsory weed control requirements on landholders are carefully considered by the South East Regional Weed Committee using a scientifically reliable method.
Where a weed is already widespread in the environment, compulsory control measures are unlikely to provide any personal benefit to many landholders and only provide a marginal benefit to the community.
Serrated tussock has been widespread in parts of the Southern Highlands for more than 50 years. As such, it is a poor candidate for compulsory control, especially as flupropanate, the most effective selective herbicide, is no longer being manufactured.
Regional weed planning and compliance efforts will continue to focus on preventing, eliminating and minimising biosecurity risks caused by new weed incursions to a region. Imposing compulsory control measures at an early stage of a weed’s spread is cost effective and the best use of limited resources.
This approach minimises the number of individuals who are affected by the weed and those who are burdened by the duty to implement control measures. Conversely, managing weeds that have become widespread across a region is a private benefit and is not something that can be achieved by using a regulatory approach.
Wingecarribee Shire Council is a Local Control Authority and can assist landholders to implement cooperative action against widespread weeds such as blackberry and serrated tussock. Should you need further advice on management of a healthy pasture, seek advice from a Local Land Services agricultural advisor or from a private agronomist.