Local Leaders | NSW Farmers: Weeding out the biosecurity risks

Weeds are frequently known as ‘plants out of place’, but for farmers and the environment some weeds have a much greater impact than others. Weeds of significance which have serious impacts locally include Serrated Tussock, Chilean Needle Grass, African Lovegrass, St John’s Wort, Blackberry and Fireweed.

The financial impact of weeds on agriculture alone is approximately $2.5 billion in lost production and $1.8 billion in control activities every year. Effects on social and environmental values include a decline in native biodiversity due to competition and human health impacts.

As custodians of approximately 80 percent of the landmass of NSW, farmers take their role as responsible land managers seriously. We take pride in the role our NSW Farmers members play in sustainably producing quality food and fibre for our customers.  

From July 1, 2017, the Biosecurity Act 2015 replaced the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. This legislation changes the focus of how significant weeds are targeted and controlled.

Any land managers and users of land have a responsibility for managing weed biosecurity risks that they know about or could reasonably be expected to know about. This ‘nil tenure’ approach is very welcome.

The biosecurity framework and tools safeguard our economy, environment and community.

The general biosecurity duty can apply to anyone. It determines that everyone is responsible for doing their part in ensuring that good biosecurity practices are upheld, and that everyone does so as far as is reasonably practical.

This legislation is a positive step in the right direction and it is NSW Farmers belief that adequate resourcing at all levels of bureaucracy must now be a priority to ensure that those responsible for weed control are able to more effectively undertake their obligations under this relatively new Act.

Margaret Cameron.

Margaret Cameron.