Priority weeds

Cowra Council's Biosecurity Officer undertakes the control and management of priority weeds throughout the Shire. Species such as Chilean Needle Grass, St John's Wort, Silver Leaf Nightshade and Blue Heliotrope are among weeds that are considered to be a problem in the Shire.

Residents with priority weeds on their property are encouraged to contact the Infrastructure & Operations Department on (02) 6340 2070.

The Central Tablelands Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2017-2022 contains over 300 priority weeds, describing:

  • Profile
  • Control (including registered herbicide options)
  • Biosecurity duty (under the Biosecurity Act 2015)

Weed Biosecurity

From 1 July 2017 the Biosecurity Act 2015 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 NSW. It will increase efficiency and decrease regulation in responding to biosecurity risks and provides a streamlined statutory framework to protect the NSW economy, environment and community from the negative impact of pests, diseases and weeds.

General Biosecurity Duty

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."

Your role

All land owners or land managers have a 'General Biosecurity Duty' to prevent, eliminate or minimise the Biosecurity Risk posed or likely to be posed by weeds.

If a priority weed poses a biosecurity risk in a particular area, but is not the subject of any specific legislation, Council's Authorised Officers may rely on the general biosecurity duty to manage that weed or prevent its spread.

If Council's Authorised Officers believe that the owner/occupier of the land is failing in their biosecurity duty to control priority weeds on their land then they can issue a Biosecurity Direction to prevent, eliminate or minimise the biosecurity risk.

Council's role

As a land manager, Council must prevent, eliminate or minimise the risk posed by priority weeds found on land under its control. Council is also the Local Control Authority for the Cowra Shire Local Government Area, which means Council is responsible for administering and enforcing the Biosecurity Act 2015 in respect to weeds. This includes inspecting private and public lands to ensure owners/managers of land carry out their obligations.

Difference between Priority and Widespread Weeds

A Priority Weed is a weed that can have serious economic or environmental impacts with their priority status being determined by the State and Regional Weed Committees, DPI and other advisory or Regulatory Bodies.

All weeds in NSW fall under Section 22 of the Biosecurity Act 2015-General Biosecurity Duty but only weeds that are contained in each Region's Strategic Weed Management Plan under the 5 control areas are considered Priority Weeds. This is to ensure limited resources are used to the best effect possible. Widespread weeds are weeds that are already widespread within the region, with a low risk rating and it is not 'reasonably practicable' under the Act to contain or eliminate. The majority of agriculture and garden weeds fall within the widespread weed category.

The weed risk assessment is carried out by a panel on behalf of the Central Tablelands Regional Weed Committee using the NSW Weed Risk Management system and takes into account feasibility of control (control costs, persistence, and current distribution).

The Central Tablelands Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan contains relevant Priority Weed Ratings for this region and the outcomes required to comply with a General Biosecurity Duty.

Links and Documents

NSW Department of Primary Industries