What is a Weed?
Weeds are plant species that are out of place in the natural environment. They can often produce vast quantities of seed which spread across into the natural ecosystem by wind, water, birds (and other animals) and humans.
Many local bushland reserves are under threat from weeds escaping from gardens, with birds eating and spreading the seeds or from vegetation and grass clippings dumped into the bush. Weeds can take hold of an area quickly, impacting local biodiversity by smothering native plants and altering wildlife habitat.
Weed legislation has been reformed, with the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 replacing the Noxious Weed Act,1993. The aim of the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 is to allow effective risk-based management of biosecurity in NSW and provide a statutory framework to protect the economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of pests, diseases and weeds.
Weed biosecurity includes:
*preventing the entry of new weeds;
*finding, containing and eradicating emerging weeds; and
*minimising the impacts from weeds that cannot be eradicated.
Weeds are now divided into State, Regional and Local Priority Weeds (formerly referred to as Noxious Weeds). The Greater Sydney Regional Strategic Weed 2017 - 2022 identifies State and Regional Priority Weeds and outcomes to demonstrate compliance with the General Biosecurity Duty. Council is a member of the Sydney North Sub Regional Weeds Committee, which coordinates a regional approach to weed management, including the development of local management plans for Local Priority Weeds.
Priority Weeds threaten natural biological diversity, human health and property and/or agricultural productivity. Not all weeds identified as Priority Weeds are found in Lane Cove at present, but they have the potential to become serious weeds or are already serious weeds elsewhere in NSW. They are identified so that they can be eradicated or controlled as soon as they appear.
Which species are Priority Weeds?
Visit the NSW Department of Primary Industry website to view the Priority Weeds list for the Lane Cove Local Government Area and how best to manage them.
Who is responsible for controlling Priority Weeds?
Weeds are everyone's responsibility. Together we can help minimise the harmful impacts of weeds on our environment.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, as the Local Control Authority, Council has a legal obligation to manage the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed to human health, the economy, community and the environment by weeds. This includes managing weeds on Council land and inspecting private land to ensure land owners/managers are carrying out their obligations.
Authorised Officers will endeavour to inspect premises or land that are likely
of hosting priority weed/s. They may also, from time-to-time, inspect
premises or land that may share a common border with a threatened community or
other valued natural area to help ensure they are protected.
Under the same Act, all landowners or land managers have a responsibility to control Priority Weeds on their property, known as a 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 spreading to other properties or into bushland.
an Authorised Officer inspect a private or public property (not owned or
controlled by Council) that includes a priority weed, then a property record
will be generated for the premises. If the weed species is high risk,
then education, followed by enforcement of the regulatory provisions of The Act
the weed species is low risk, the Authorised Officer will proceed with
education but generally not regulatory enforcement under the Act, unless in the
opinion of the Authorised Officer, one or more of the following conditions are
weed species is having a proven health impact on a person directly
adjoining the land. Proof of this would be a written notice from an
appropriate licenced medical health professional.
Annual Operational Plan has specifically targeted a weed eradication
program project focussed on a priority weed or weeds in the particular
local area or catchment, for example, a priority weed eradication project
within a particular reserve or park.
decision is made by the Authorised Officer in relation to the General
Biosecurity Duty that the weeds/s are posing a significant risk to an
asset and warrants the attention of further actions.
Officers or other Council staff involved in weed management will not become
involved in any dispute of a pure civil nature.
an Authorised Officer is requested to inspect a property boundary shared by two
or more private property owners that includes priority weeds then a property
record will be generated for the properties (property record). If the
weed species is high risk, then education, followed by enforcement of the Biosecurity
Act 2015 NSW will proceed as necessary.
the weed species is low risk, Authorised Officers or other Council staff will
proceed with education, but not enforcement under The Act.
How can I identify Weeds?
Here are some useful websites to help you identify a weed species:
NSW Weedwise - Department of Primary Industry
Australian Government Weed Identification Tool
Council staff can also help to identify weeds and provide advice on weed removal. For assistance or to report weeds, please contact Council on 9911 3555. You may also present weed samples at Council's Customer Serice Centre for identification.
Councils Backyard Habitat Program is a free program for residents providing guidance on creating native habitat gardens, including the identification and advice on weeds and their removal. Contact Council's Backyard Habitat Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9911 3654.
My neighbour has weeds - What can I do?
The quickest and most effective way of dealing with weed issues on your neighbours' property is to foster good relations with your neighbour and seek to resolve the issues together. If this is not possible, contact Council and an authorised officer will inspect the property to assess whether the plant has legislative requirements to be controlled under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. If so, Council can proceed with the matter.
If there are no legislative requirements but the officer deems the plant poses a significant biosecurity risk that can be reasonably and practicably addressed, then the matter can also be taken further. If this is not the case and you still can't resolve the issue with your neighbour, contact NSW Community Justice Centre for free advice and mediation. Taking a neighbour to court should always be a last resort.
If issues between neighbours cannot be resolved through direct engagement or mediation, another avenue is the legislation, Trees (Disputes between neighbours) Act 2006 and its Regulations. This Act sets out the circumstances where the Act applies and provides possible actions. The regulations state that for the purposes of the Act that Bamboo and any plant that is a vine are defined as trees.
Can I get help with controlling weeds on my property?
Council Officers can provide information and advice on how to control weeds, however we are unable to undertake works directly on your property. The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators website has a list of professional bush regenerators who may be able to help you, or check local newspapers for garden maintenance businesses.
For frail and older people, carers, and people with a disability, Easy Care Gardening provides a subsidised gardening service within the area by teams of willing volunteers.
You may find these
websites helpful for further information and references: