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What is a Priority Weed?

LantanaEach of us probably has a definition of the term ‘weed’ which does not exactly coincide with anyone else’s definition.  Broadly speaking a ‘weed’ is best defined as a plant growing out of place or where it is not wanted.

Weeds cost the Australian community some $4 billion annually.  Over two-thirds (66%) of our weeds were introduced legally as attractive garden ornamentals.  Every year at least 12 new species become naturalized somewhere in Australia.  Of these at least four become significant or major weeds.

Although there are many plants that could be classed as weeds, only those plants that spread widely and have a detrimental effect on the environment, or economy are considered as candidates for declaration as a priority weed.  Declared priority weeds are proclaimed by Order of the Minister for the Department of Primary Industries under the Biosecurity Act 2015.  There is a legal requirement on landowners and occupiers to control these weeds once declared.  A weed is declared priority only if reasonable and enforceable means are available to control it.

The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies five control classes.  Every declared noxious weed is placed within a class.  Following are the five classes and the specified action for each class:

Prohibited Matter

Extreme/High Risk

Biosecurity matter that could have a significant adverse impact on the economy, evironment or community. i.e biosecurity matter that is considered high risk.

Not found in NSW

Generally includes plant and animal pests and diseases not found inAustrlia orplant and animal pests and diseases present in another State or Territory but not in NSW or that may be of national interest.

Tightly Regulated

Tightly regulated in NSW and prohibited to deal with except in the most limited and controlled circumstances. i.e under permit.

Control Order

Medium and High Risks

Management of medium and high biosecurity risks. Used to prevent the intoduction of biosecurity matter and carriers of biosecurity matter and where eradication is considered feasible.

These may also be used to transition from an emergency situation when erdaication is still considered feasible. Control orders also provide the flexibility to respond to changing environmental or operational conditions.

Biosecurity Zone

Minimise and Manage Risk

Used to manage bioseciruty matter or carriers over an extended period where the focus is on containment, minimising the risk of spread and it's impact in the affected area.

Protecting Particular Areas

Used where different management actions are required in different parts of NSW or to protect a particular area in the State from the introduction of a particular biosecurity risk.

General Duty Biosecurity Duty

Shared Responsibility

Government, industry and the community share the responsibilty of, and are proactive in, responding to and managing biosecurity risks.

Prevent, Eliminate and Minimise

Biosecurity risk must be prevented, elimiated or minimised as fa as reasonably practical.