Invasive species

An invasive species is a species occurring, as a result of human activities, beyond its accepted normal distribution and which threatens valued environmental, agricultural or other social resources by the damage it causes.

Invasive species have a major impact on Australia's environment, threatening our unique biodiversity and reducing overall species abundance and diversity.

Invasive species include:

What is environmental biosecurity?

Environmental biosecurity is the protection of the environment and social amenity from the negative effects associated with invasive species; including weeds, pests and diseases. It occurs across the entire biosecurity continuum: pre-border preparedness, border protection and post-border management and control.

Our biosecurity system protects our unique natural landscapes and native flora and fauna, including the ecosystem services they provide, and our quality of life. The National Agreement on Biosecurity is being negotiated between the Australian and state and territory governments as an agreement for governments to work in partnership to improve key aspects of the national biosecurity system. Further information is available at:

Australian Government funding

The Australian Government funds a range of activities to reduce the threat of invasive species:

Legislation

The Department administers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth can, among other things:

  • list key threatening processes. These processes threaten, or may threaten, the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community. Examples of invasive species key threatening processes that cover individual threats include rabbits, foxes, cats, pigs, unmanaged goats, rodents on islands, red imported fire ants, Phytophthora cinnamomi, Psittacine beak and feather disease, and chytrid fungus. Examples of key threatening processes that cover multiple or broad threats are ‘land clearance’ and ‘Novel biota and their impact on biodiversity’. Some individually listed key threatening processes for invasive species are considered to be covered by the ‘Novel biota and their impact on biodiversity’ key threatening process.  These separate listing are considered warranted by the Threatened Species and Scientific Committee, and
  • develop and implement threat abatement plans (TAPs). These plans outline the research, management and other actions necessary to reduce the impacts of a listed key threatening process on affected listed threatened species and ecological communities.
  • Recovery plans

More information

Community Information Unit
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 1800 803 772
Email: ciu@environment.gov.au