Weeds and Invasive Species

Weeds and Biosecurity

Weeds are everybody’s responsibility. We can all work together to protect our unique bushland and waterways.

Weeds are plants that do not occur naturally in the bush. They compete with native plants and often overshadow or supplant them. They damage and destroy the habitat of our native animals.

Council’s obligation

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, Woollahra Council as the Local Control Authority has a legal obligation to manage the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed to human health, the economy, community and environment by Priority Weeds.

Council meets these obligations through programs to:

  • Control State Priority Weeds on Council managed land
  • Inspect private lands to ensure owners of land carry out their obligations.

The Bushcare Liaison Officer takes a co-ordinated landscape approach working with residents, businesses, community groups and other agencies.

Your obligation

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, 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 Priority Weeds.

What is a Priority Weed?

Castor Oil Plant Ricinus communis 

Priority Weeds or Biosecurity Matter can impact on human health, the economy, the liveability of our city and the environment. Impacts can include allergies and other health issues, costs of control, loss of tourism value, degradation of natural landscapes, parks and recreation facilities, reduction of useful agricultural land and loss of primary production, loss of biodiversity and water quality.

The Greater Sydney Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2023 - 2027 which has been developed by the Greater Sydney Local Land Services outlines:

  • State Priority Weeds
  • Regional Priority Weeds
  • Local Priority Weeds

Areas of Focus

Council's Bushcare Officer Team and Bush Regeneration team main focus of these works are areas determined by factors such as:

  • The presence of Endangered Plant species
  • Negative impacts that weed control may have on an area
  • Bushcare groups working in the area
  • Other teams within Council carrying out environmental focused programs
  • Drainage systems

Weed Notification

Madeira vine with flowers

If you have been asked to control Priority Weeds on your property under the Biosecurity Act 2015, you will have received two letters from Council:

  1. ‘Notice of Entry’ is a notification that an authorised officer will be entering your property (exercising the power of entry under Section 98 of the Biosecurity Act 2015), to inspect for the presence of Priority Weeds. This letter will give a range of dates that the Council Officer will enter your land, but also gives you an opportunity to arrange a time to meet the Officer on-site to answer questions you may have.
  2. ‘Presence of Priority Weeds’ is a notification that Priority Weeds have been identified on your property and informs you which weeds are present. Information on the Priority Weeds will be included with this letter providing a variety of information including; herbicide use and weed control techniques. There will also be dates that a Council Officer will visit the property to check for voluntary compliance prior to a ‘Formal Biosecurity Direction’ being issued.

Identifying Weeds

If you think you have identified a weed in your area contact Woollahra Councils Bushcare Liaision Officer at records@woollahra.nsw.gov.au

Biosecurity Act 2015 FAQs

What is Biosecurity?

Biosecurity refers to the protection of native plant communities; reducing the risk to human health; and the risk to agricultural production, from invasive weeds.

What is an invasive weed?

Invasive weeds are plants that are spread by wind, birds, and storm water. Invasive weeds impact upon neighbouring properties and surrounding bushland by excluding and competing with native regeneration.

What is changing?

On 1 July 2017 the NSW Government replaced the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, and 13 other Acts, with a single Biosecurity Act 2015. The new Biosecurity Act 2015 combines these pieces of legislation, including the Noxious Weeds Act, into a single Act of law. Under the Noxious Weeds Act all landowners have a responsibility to control noxious weeds on their property. Under the Biosecurity Act the same responsibility will apply and will be known as a General Biosecurity Duty.

What does the new Biosecurity Act mean for me?

Landowners have a responsibility to control noxious weeds on their property under the Biosecurity Act as they did under the old Noxious Weeds Act. If you notice invasive weeds coming up on your property, you will need to control them as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to other properties or our native bushland. Remember: Biosecurity Begins in your Backyard. The only difference customers will see is a change in the language used, for example, the term “Noxious Weed’ will be replaced with Invasive Weeds or Biosecurity Matter, and that weed notices/orders will be issued as Biosecurity Directions under the Biosecurity Act.

Will the Biosecurity Act change the way Council manages weeds on private property?

Council’s Urban Weeds Program and the process for examining private properties for invasive weeds will continue unchanged. Council will also maintain its current approach to education and compliance relating to weeds. The main differences will be the terminology used and that Orders will be issued under the Biosecurity Act. They will be known as Biosecurity Directions.

Further information

Go to the Department of Primary Industries website for more information on the Biosecurity Act.

Useful links