Laws and regulations relating to weed control exist at the Australian and state and territory government levels. In some states and territories local government plays a major role in the administration of state and territory legislation.
Although it is the responsibility of each jurisdiction (Australian Government, state and territory governments) to administer their respective legislation, it is the responsibility of every land manager or individual to be aware of legislation that may impact upon them, and to act in accordance with this legislation.
Under the Australian Constitution the Australian Government has responsibility for quarantine. The Quarantine Act 1908, which is administered by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, enables the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to physically prevent the introduction of weeds through the inspection of incoming luggage, cargo, mail, animals and plants and their products. It also provides inspection and certification for a range of exports.
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry also administers the Biological Control Act 1985, under which a weed may be declared a target for biological control, or a weed control agent may be identified.
The Australian Government is responsible for approving the introduction into Australia of new plants and animals, including biological control agents. The plant, animal or biological control agent must be assessed for its potential impacts, including on Australia's environment and agricultural sectors, under:
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
- Quarantine Act 1908
- Biological Control Act 1984
The EPBC Act also regulates the import and export of plants, including those proctected under CITES. Check the legal requirements before you import or export plants or plant material.
States and Territories
Under the Australian Constitution, responsibility for the use and management of land rests primarily with the states and territories.
Each state and territory has legislation covering the control of some serious (noxious) weeds and the movement of weeds and weed seeds, including crop seeds and stock feed.
The legislation empowers governments to compel landholders and occupiers to control certain weeds and to prevent their movement and spread.
A summary of the state and territory weed legislation, including information on the state or territory government department responsible for administering the legislation, is available on the Weeds Australia web site.
More information on state and territory weed management arrangements