Weeds and Pests
Weeds and pests are without a doubt some of the major NRM challenges facing Australia today. They threaten our valuable agricultural industries, reduce the economic viability of our communities, affect human health and pose a major threat to our unique biodiversity. Weeds alone cost NSW $600 million every year (and Australia over $4billion per year) in lost production and control measures.
LGNSW represents councils to the NSW government - and assists councils with advice - on weeds issues.
Local Government and Weeds
Noxious weed management has been the responsibility of Local Government in NSW for over 100 years. As Local Control Authorities, councils have specific responsibilities under the NSW Noxious Weeds Act 1993, including control, enforcement, compliance, strategic planning and education roles. Councils can fulfil these responsibilities either individually or together with adjoining councils. By joining together the councils form an independent County Council to undertake the roles across all participating LGAs.
Weeds Management Review
In mid-2013 the Minister for Primary Industries requested the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to undertake an evaluation of weed management arrangements in NSW, with a view to informing the development of the NSW Biosecurity Act and associated strategies.
Further information on the Review can be found on the NRC’s website.
The principal responsibility for pest management lies with the Livestock Health & Pest Authorities. These authorities are funded by landowners and operate in a similar fashion to a very small council. While Councils have minimal official responsibilities, many are taking proactive steps to control pests, especially on public land.
Under the NSW State Disaster Plan the Department of Primary Industries is the main Agency for exotic animal disease operations and other animal health emergencies. Local Councils have minimal official responsibilities except for control on public land.
Other Invasive Species - Myrtle Rust
Myrtle Rust is a new plant disease in NSW. It has the potential to have a significant impact on many native plant species. The rust was first found on the Central Coast in April 2010, but no one knows how it got into Australia in the first place. Myrtle Rust is a rust fungus that affects plants belonging to the Myrtaceae family, including many iconic Australian natives like bottle brush (Callistemon spp.), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.) and gum trees (Eucalyptus spp.).
The fungus has the potential to have significant impact on councils in NSW, especially the health of native vegetation in public parks and bushland reserves. Many councils are undertaking inspection and containment activities to minimise the risk of potential impacts. This includes changed procedures in activities such as bush regeneration, parks and gardens maintenance, bushfire hazard reduction, and roadside vegetation management. For more information, go to: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust