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Please note – for NSW: During 2017, the current Noxious Weeds Act 1993 is going to be fully absorbed into the new Biosecurity Act 2015. For further information contact your local council weeds officer. 

Legal responsibilities vary from state to state but WITHIN NEW SOUTH WALES the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 defines the roles of government, councils, private landholders and public authorities in the management of noxious weeds. The Act imposes penalties for non-compliance. It categorises and defines control requirements for the various noxious weeds, according to their perceived potential to cause harm to our local environment.

Weed control classes and control measures –

Control class Weed type Example control requirements
Class 1 Plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment and are not present in the State or are present only to a limited extent. The plant must be eradicated from the land and the land must be kept free of the plant.The weeds are also “notifiable” and a range of restrictions on their sale and movement exist.
Class 2 Plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment of a region to which the order applies and are not present in the region or are present only to a limited extent. The plant must be eradicated from the land and the land must be kept free of the plant.The weeds are also “notifiable” and a range of restrictions on their sale and movement exist.
Class 3 Plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment of a region to which the order applies, are not widely distributed in the area and are likely to spread in the area or to another area. The plant must be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.*
Class 4 Plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production, the environment or human health, are widely distributed in an area to which the order applies and are likely to spread in the area or to another area. The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread*
Class 5 Plants that are likely, by their sale or the sale of their seeds or movement within the State or an area of the State, to spread in the State or outside the State. There are no requirements to control existing plants of Class 5 weeds.However, the weeds are “notifiable” and a range of restrictions on their sale and movement exists.

* In some cases the following wording has also been inserted “the plant may not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed.”

Each Council has its own list of declared noxious weeds. Most lists are similar but you might need to check the status for your own local Shire Council area. You can go on-line to the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries website (noxious weeds section) to access your local (NSW) Council’s noxious weeds list.

A copy of the NSW Noxious Weeds Act can be downloaded from the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office. Information on NSW’s weed control policies and related matters including Weed Control Orders is available on the NSW DPI website NSW DPI (Weeds Sub-Program) website.

Council obligations under the Act

Local councils are responsible for administration of the Noxious Weeds Act. This includes:

  • development, implementation, coordination and reviews of noxious weed control policies and district noxious weed control programs
  • inspection of lands under Council control
  • control of noxious weeds on Council lands including certain roads (see below)
  • inspection of private and public lands and ensuring, so far as practicable, that occupiers of private and public lands carry out their legal obligations to control noxious weeds
  • issuing of Section 64 Certificate in relation to property sales/transfers.

Landholders’ obligations under the Act…

  1. In the case of private lands occupiers of private lands must control noxious weeds on the land, as required under the control class or classes specified in relation to the weed concerned (section 12, Noxious Weeds Act).
  2. In the case of public lands (eg National Parks etc) occupiers of public lands must control noxious weeds on the land, as required under the control class or classes specified in relation to the weed concerned, to the extent necessary to prevent weeds from spreading to adjoining land (section 13).
  3. Fenced public roads Councils must control noxious weeds on roads …, as required under the control class or classes specified in relation to the weed concerned (section 14.2).
  4. Unfenced public roads The Noxious Weeds Act states that the obligation to control noxious weeds along unfenced roads is a joint obligation between the LCA* and the occupier of the land through which the road passes (sections 14.3, 17.6).

*However, a problem faced by LCA staff in applying chemicals to unfenced roadside areas without prior consultation and agreement from the occupier is the risk of exposing animals to chemical residues. Similarly, application of chemicals on unfenced roadsides traversing “organic” farms (and these are not usually signposted!) would be most undesirable.

*Some Councils have therefore determined that, on the “user pay” principle and the basis that the occupier’s stock have access to and full use of the roadside area, the occupier has prime responsibility for control of noxious weeds along unfenced roads. These councils therefore limit their responsibilities in such situations to treatment of noxious weeds that have newly established as a direct result of ground disturbance caused by recent road construction and/or road maintenance – if requested by the occupier of the land through which the unfenced road passes. Check with your local council weeds officer for clarification on this.

  1. Unfenced roads through stock reserves – most Local Land Services authorities (previously Livestock Health & Pest Authorities LHPAs) are committed to regular maintenance of noxious weeds in all areas under their control – certainly to the limit of their financial resources.

Most Councils endeavour to assist these programs as far as possible by undertaking noxious weed treatments of roadside areas on both sides of the road to a width of about 20 metres from the centre line. However, there are instances where this policy may include “user-pay” arrangements with individual Local Land Services, taking into account potential adjistment revenue from the particular roadside area…

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of North West Weeds or the user’s independent adviser.