Weeds Management and Biosecurity

Woman in a sunhat removing weeds from a garden.
Weed identification with the WeedWise app

Do you want to know more about weeds and how to control them?

NSW WeedWise is a free web and smartphone application produced by the Department of Primary Industries for weeds information in New South Wales. You can customise the app to show information specific to the local area by selecting Wingecarribee as your "area of interest"

WeedWise allows users to search for particular weeds, provides information on methods of control, and lists the biosecurity duty for each weed.  

Download WeedWise

Council Biosecurity Program

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:

From 1st July 2017 the NSW Government replaced the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 with the Biosecurity Act 2015. The new Biosecurity Act 2015 combined 14 different pieces of legislation, including the Noxious Weeds Act, into a single Act of law. The primary objective of the Act is to provide a framework for the prevention, elimination and minimisation of biosecurity risks. 

The Biosecurity Act 2015 provides greater flexibility and improved capacity in the response, management and control of biosecurity risks, and supports the vision of the Biosecurity Strategy 2022 - 2030. That is, biosecurity is a shared responsibility between government, industry and the community. 

It provides for a range of tools and powers that can be used to support risk-based decision making and allow for increased efficiency and decreased regulation. 

Wingecarribee Shire Council is the Local Control Authority for the Wingecarribee Shire.

As the Local Control Authority, Wingecarribee Shire Council has an obligation to fulfil our General Biosecurity Duty (as outlined by the Biosecurity Act (2015)). Council’s role in this endeavour is to maintain a Biosecurity program that seeks to identify and combat Biosecurity risks in our local government area.

Wingecarribee Shire Council currently employs two Biosecurity Officers. Their primary responsibility is to prevent the entry, establishment, and spread of invasive weeds that could harm our local agricultural and environmental land. They enforce biosecurity regulations, conduct inspections of private and public land, and implement control measures to manage and mitigate biosecurity threats.

The Biosecurity Team also work closely with industry stakeholders, government agencies, and the community to raise awareness, provide education, and promote compliance with biosecurity measures.

As a part of our biosecurity program, our Officers deal specifically with weeds that have been selected as priority species. These lists are compiled through a weed risk management system (WRMS) process undertaken by an independent Ecologist. It is important to note that while other weeds that have not been identified as Priority Weeds have an impact on our local Agricultural and Environmental landscapes, our Biosecurity Team has no legislative power to enforce action relating to such plants. With this in mind it is also important to keep up to date with Priority Weed Listings. 

The Difference between Noxious Weeds and Priority or Biosecurity Weeds

Many landowners and residents may be accustomed to referring to particular weeds as ‘noxious’ however this is no longer the accepted terminology as it references an outdated piece of legislation.  
From 1st July 2017 the NSW Government replaced the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 with the Biosecurity Act 2015. The new Biosecurity Act 2015 combined 14 different pieces of legislation, including the Noxious Weeds Act, into a single Act of law. 

Under the Noxious Weeds Act all landowners had a responsibility to control noxious weeds on their property. Under the Biosecurity Act the same responsibility applies and is known as a General Biosecurity Duty. 

Landowners have a responsibility to control weeds on their property under the Biosecurity Act as they did under the old Noxious Weeds Act - this is known as General Biosecurity Duty. If you notice invasive weeds coming up on your property, you will need to control them as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to other properties or our native bushland.

Moving forward it is important to reference the State, Regional and Local Priority Weeds Lists. These weeds are referred to as Priority weeds or Biosecurity Weeds. 

The Difference between Widespread Weeds and Priority Weeds

Weeds of importance are often delineated by their environmental context.   
For example, certain weeds are a Regional Priority for Biosecurity (such as Gorse and Boneseed) – meaning they pose a risk to the entire South-East Region of NSW, while others are a Local Priority (such as Ox-eye Daisy and Yellow Flag Iris), as they have been identified to pose a particular risk to the Wingecarribee area. In addition to these categories, there are also Widespread weeds in our area (these are weeds that are already common in the area).

These weeds have also undergone a WRMS. As a result, the feasibility of a coordinated control has been deemed negligible. It is more cost effective to impose compulsory control measures at the early stages of a weed’s invasion rather than when a species has already become widespread - examples of such species include Blackberry and St. John’s Wort.   

The Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan

The South East Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan focuses on managing weeds to improve the region’s biosecurity. This plan details priorities of weed management to protect the South East region’s environment, economy, and community from the negative impacts of weeds, strengthening the sustainability of the region’s natural environment, primary industries, and local communities.

The NSW Biosecurity Strategy, the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, state and regional strategies and plans are mutually supportive and inclusive of the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan and are designed to work dynamically and effectively with Commonwealth biosecurity measures reforming weed, pest, and disease legislation for NSW in a consistent manner. Together, these strategies and plans at all levels, provide a clear framework for safeguarding primary industries, natural environments, and communities from a vast range of pests, diseases and weeds in a manner that can be implemented more cooperatively, consistently across tenures supporting more effective management across the state.

The South East Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan was prepared by the South East Regional Weed Committee on behalf of the South East Local Land Services Board, in consultation with State Government and Local Land Services staff. The plan outlines how government, industry and the community will share responsibility and work together to identify, minimise, respond to, and manage weeds.    

Environmental weeds

Environmental weeds are plants often introduced as garden plants, that continually invade and threaten our diverse bushland, wetlands and other natural areas. Often can spread quiet far sometimes kilometres away from where they were introduced.

Environmental weeds are distinct from Priority Biosecurity Weeds in that Priority Biosecurity Weeds have undergone an assessment process and have been deemed to pose a Biosecurity Risk to the area. Landholders are required under state laws to control them. 

Environmental Weeds also cause major issues for our local biodiversity from reduction in native flora and fauna species, often displacing native animals from their natural habitat. By controlling environmental weeds on your property, you can help protect our native species from the impact they cause.

General Biosecurity Duty for priority weeds

The General Biosecurity Duty (section 22 of the Biosecurity Act) states that:

“Any person who deals with biosecurity matter or a carrier and who knows, or ought reasonably to know, the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed by the biosecurity matter, carrier or dealing has a biosecurity duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the biosecurity risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised.” 

The NSW WeedWise app contains more than 300 priority weeds, describing;

  • Plant profiles
  • Control methods (including registered herbicide options)
  • Biosecurity duties (under the Biosecurity Act 2015)

The South East 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.

FAQ about weeds and the Biosecurity Act

Weed control requirements for land owners and managers under the current regulatory framework are explained in the attached FAQ document about weed control and biosecurity in the Wingecarribe Shire. You can also find links in the document to other information resources.

View FAQ document or download(PDF, 265KB)

Importance of managing weeds when they first appear:

1. Preventing spread:

Weeds have the potential to spread rapidly and aggressively, outcompeting native plants and crops. By managing weeds early on, you can prevent their establishment and reduce the risk of impact on your land.  

2. Protecting biodiversity:

Weeds can negatively impact native flora and fauna by displacing native species and disrupting ecosystems. Managing weeds at an early stage helps protect the biodiversity of the region and maintain the ecological balance. 

3. Minimising economic impact:

Weeds can have significant economic consequences, especially in agricultural areas. They can reduce crop yields, increase production costs, and impact the quality of agricultural products. Early weed management can help minimise these economic losses. 

4. Compliance with regulations:

In NSW, there are regulations and guidelines in place to control the spread of certain weeds. Managing weeds when they first appear ensures compliance with these regulations and helps prevent legal issues. 


5. Easier control:

Weeds are generally easier to control when they are in their early stages of growth. They have not yet produced seeds or spread extensively, making eradication or control measures more effective and efficient. 


By managing weeds promptly when they first appear, you can mitigate their negative impacts on the environment, economy, and agricultural productivity.