The overarching policy for weed management in Australia is the Australian Weeds Strategy, which outlines goals and actions required to keep Australia's economic, environmental and social assets secure from the impacts of weeds.
The Australian Weeds Committee oversees the implementation of the Australian Weeds Strategy, with members representing the Australian Government and all states and territories. The Australian Weeds Committee has established policies and programmes to address the objectives of the Australian Weeds Strategy. The Weeds of National Significance (WONS) programme identifies 32 of Australia's worst weeds within an agricultural, forestry and environmental context. For each WONS there is a national strategy for the control of that weed.
The Australian Government is committed to developing and participating in policies that support the Australian Weeds Strategy in accordance with its role to provide policy leadership and direction.
The Australian Government departments with primary responsibility for weed management are the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment.
Australian Government national and international policies
Weed management is also addressed in a number of international agreements, or national strategies and programmes such as:
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
- The World Heritage Convention
- Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
More information on Australian Government international and domestic policies can be found at the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment web sites:
The Australian Government has a number of programmes in place to help tackle weed problems of national significance.
Plant import programmes
Under the Australian Constitution the Australian Government is responsible for the import and export of plant material to prevent the entry of new potential weeds into Australia.
Weed management in the Natural Resource Management regions
In order to facilitate the integrated delivery of Natural Resource Management (NRM) priority issues, the Australian Government, in association with state and territory governments, identified 54 regions covering all of Australia.
An integrated NRM plan, developed within local communities, and supported by government and the best available science, has been developed for each region. These plans consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of NRM decisions on a regional basis, which will help improve the sustainable management of natural resources on a regional scale. The management plans include actions for weed management.
National Cost-Sharing Eradication programmes
The Australian Government also provides significant funding towards the National Cost-Sharing Eradication Programs. These programmes map, coordinate and undertake activities to eradicate targeted weed species from Australia.
Managing Commonwealth land
The Australian Government manages Commonwealth lands, such as defence establishments and Commonwealth national parks, and is responsible for weed management on this land.
The Department of Defence is responsible for managing weeds on the land under its responsibility. The Department of Defence has a Defence Environment Policy and a Defence Environmental Strategic Plan to guide environmental management actions.
Parks Australia has responsibility for Commonwealth parks and reserves including areas located on external island territories and within Australian waters beyond the state limit of three nautical miles. Three of the six Commonwealth National Parks, namely Kakadu, Uluru and Booderee, are managed jointly with their Aboriginal Traditional Owners. Each protected area has a management plan which includes weeds management. Reducing the impact of weeds in native vegetation may be an important strategy for reducing the impact of climate change and for recovering populations of threatened species in protected areas.
The state and territory governments also have a range of programmes, policies and legislation to meet their responsibilities for weed management.
Local governments have different land and weed management responsibilities dependent on which state or territory they are in. In some states, local governments are responsible for planning, coordinating and monitoring noxious weed control.
Local governments may have local weed strategies and community weed management programmes in place. They also have a role in weed management on their own land.
Your local government is often a useful source for information on which weeds are a problem in your area. Please contact your local government, or check their website, for information on local weed issues, or weed management responsibilities in your area.