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The first infestations in Australia of a highly invasive weed, Tropical Soda Apple, have recently been discovered on the Upper Macleay near Kempsey. Councils from Nambucca to Tweed Heads are now on high alert.
The plant is described as being a perennial shrub that grows from 1-2 metres in height with leaves and stems containing large white to yellow thorn-like prickles. Flowers are white. Immature fruits are similar in colour to a water melon, which turn yellow when mature. They are about three centimetres in diameter.
Noxious Weeds to be controlled in October, November and December:
- Giant Parramatta Grass
- Green Cestrum
- Aquatic Weeds
The objectives for the control of Noxious Weeds
- To control and contain if possible noxious weeds from all roadsides, council owned land, vacant crown land and waterways within Kempsey Shire
- To obtain maximum landholder co-operation and participation in the effective implementation of a weed control program
- To obtain maximum co-operation and participation from Government Departments in the effective implementation of a weed control program
- To assist the local community with any weed enquires including both noxious and environmental
- To assist and help co-ordinate local community groups including dune care, land care to implement effective weed control programs
Did you know?
- The cost of controlling weeds for our agricultural industries alone is in excess of $4 billion each year nationwide, this cost is equivalent 1000 new primary schools, more then 400 hospitals or 1500 new nursing homes every year.
- At least 23 common weeds present a serious respiratory or toxic risk to humans especially children.
- 65% of our environmental weeds originated in parks and home gardens
- Weeds injure and poison animals
- Just 6 of our worst weeds have degraded over 20 million hectares of natural ecosystems and grazing lands
- Weeds are a major threat to biodiversity in Australia. They have been implicated in the extinction of at least 4 native plant species and are known to be adding pressure to a further 57 now under threat.
Impacts of Noxious Weeds
- Human and animal health – Some weeds affect human or animal welfare, causing chronic or acute poisoning, hay fever, asthma, dermatitis, or photosensitisation. The spines or seeds of many weeds may cause physical injury
- Biodiversity – Many weeds, often termed ‘environmental weeds’ adversely affect the integrity, conservation status, habitat characteristics, and aesthetic value of our natural ecosystems. These weeds displace native habitats and in some cases are a direct threat to the survival of threatened or endangered plants and animals and ecological communities.
- Waterways – Aquatic weeds block irrigation channels and streams, hinder fishing and water based recreational activities, damage infrastructure, change flow regimes causing erosion and overwhelm native species. They change ecosystem dynamics affecting fish, amphibian and waterfowl habitats. They can restrict livestock access to water and can seriously degrade water quality to the point where it is not suitable for human consumption. Aquatic weeds also detract from the visual amenity of waterways and impact upon riparian vegetation.
- Agriculture – Virtually every agricultural industry in Australia incurs cost due to noxious weeds through:
- Contamination and downgrading of agricultural produce
- Reductions in the yield and quality of crops and pastures
- Injury and poisoning of livestock
- Interference with harvesting operations
- Expensive and time-consuming methods of control
Appreciating the concepts of Weed Management
- Prevention – Prevention is the best practice and may require promotion weed awareness in our council area and encouraging the community to identify and report
- Act early – Weeds control is expensive and labour intensive, acting early is a good investment of time and money
- Control – There are usually several options available for the management of weeds including physical removal, vegetation management, herbicide application and biological control
- Replacement – Replacing the weed with desirable vegetation is the only long-term solution for managing weeds
- Maintaining the site – Maintaining the site though regular inspection and follow up weed control so there is no reinfestation of weed seedbank.
Noxious Weeds and Local Government
How it works:
- Noxious Weed Management has been the responsibility of local government since 1906 and, when undertaken in a coordinated way, it can yield significant benefits for both council and the community
- The Noxious Weed Act 1993 is not just fashionable environmental legislation. It provides the legal framework for councils to make sound decisions on behalf of their community
- To do this it is important that all stakeholders know their responsibilities, form effective partnerships and have access to consistent, quality information
- Councils and the Weed Officers they employ are the first line of defence against weeds in NSW. When we know our roles and responsibilities in supporting the Noxious Weed Process, the benefits to all of us, our industries, and our environment are greatly enhanced
- Councils are also occupiers of land and in addition to their responsibilities as local control authorities, are required to comply with the same obligations as occupiers of privately owned land.
What is a Noxious Weed and the Act?
A Noxious Weed is any weed that is declared noxious under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 by the Minister for Primary Industries.
To be declared, a weed must have a detrimental effect or cause serious economic loss to agriculture, animal or human health or damage to the environment.
A weed meeting the above criteria will only be declared Noxious if there are reasonable and enforceable means of controlling the weed.
The act gives the council power to require occupiers of land to control noxious weeds. If an occupier fails to do so, the council has the power to enter the land and to carry out the control work. The council can also issue a penalty notice or take prosecution action for offences under the Act.
The main intent of the Act is to restrict the spread of serious weeds and protect other landholders from weed invasion
Noxious Weeds Act 1993
In NSW the administration of noxious weed control in the responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industries un the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. The Act is implemented and enforced by the Local Control Authority for the area, usually local government. The Act Aims to:
- Ensure a uniform and coordinated approach to the control of noxious weeds throughout NSW
- Define the roles and responsibilities of all authorities and occupiers of land
- Provide powers to enable the coordinated control of weeds in NSW
- Provide for funding assistance from the state government, and categorise noxious weeds according to the level of control that is required for each weed and location
Control of Noxious Weeds on Private Land
- Occupiers of land are required to control noxious weeds according to the control categories for their area
- Where any occupier fails to control weeds on their land, the council may issue a notice for the control of the weed.
- If the occupier fails to comply with a notice, the council may prosecute and/or enter the property and carry out any necessary weed control work, charging the landholder any reasonable expense incurred. Alternatively the council may issue an ‘on the spot’ penalty for breaches of the Act.
Control of noxious weeds on public land
- Councils and public authorities are required to control noxious weeds on land under their control
- Only the Minister has the power to issue notices to public land managers and councils to control noxious weeds on their land
- Weed Calendars
- Noxious Weed Guide
- Noxious Weeds Handbooks
- Weed Alerts
- Bushland Friendly Nursery Scheme Booklets
- Weed Brochures
- Weed Media Releases in newspapers
- Ag Facts
- Weed Control Manuals
- DPI Weed Alerts
- Landcare Group Newsletters
For further information contact Council's Weed Officer on 6566 3200.