The primary responsibility for weed management rests with landholders/land managers. Collective action is necessary where the problem is beyond the capacity of the individual landholder/land manager to address.
Successful weed management requires a coordinated national approach which involves all levels of government in establishing appropriate legislative, educational and coordination frameworks and programs in partnership with regional organisations, industry, research organisations, landholders and the community.
It is the responsibility of each jurisdiction (Australian Government, state and territory governments) to administer their respective legislation, and 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 federal system of government, primary legislative and policy responsibility for natural resource management, including weed management, lies with the individual state and territory governments. The Australian Government provides national policy leadership and direction, working with state and territory governments through the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.
The Australian Government is responsible for international border protection, including regulating the import and export of plant material. The Australian Government manages Commonwealth lands, such as defence establishments and Commonwealth national parks.
The Australian Government also, in cooperation with other governments and landowners, administers legislation, policies, programs and associated activities to manage weeds at the national level.
Two Australian Government departments are primarily responsible for weed issues:
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
These departments help to identify, coordinate and resolve weed issues at the national level through membership on the Australian Weeds Committee (AWC), and through the implementation of the Australian Weeds Strategy. Two significant examples of AWC activities to which the Australian Government has an ongoing contribution are the Weeds of National Significance (WONS) program, and the National Cost Sharing Eradication programs.
- Australian Weeds Committee
- Australian Weeds Strategy
- Weeds of National Significance (WONS)
- National Cost Sharing Eradication Programs
State and territory governments encourage responsible weed management through regulation, developing and implementing effective policies and programs, such as research and awareness and educational activities, and providing positive support through financial incentives and assistance schemes as well as appropriate standards and regulations.
They are also responsible for managing weeds on state and territory public lands, which constitute more than 25 per cent of the area of some states and territories.
State and territory governments regulate the spread and control of targeted weed species, and assign responsibilities for control.
Information on weed management arrangements in the states and territories
Since 2000, Australian governments have been working together to develop a region-based approach to identify and act on priority natural resource management issues. This has led to the establishment of 56 natural resource management regions covering all of Australia.
Natural resource management regional bodies participate in planning, coordinating and monitoring weed management as part of broader natural resource management programs. In some states, natural resource management bodies implement regulatory programs.
Each natural resource management region has developed a plan that uses local knowledge and the best available science to guide prioritised action to improve natural resource management on a regional scale. The plans consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of natural resource decisions in which stakeholders will invest to achieve targets and ensure the best outcomes.
Local governments have a role in managing weed problems on their own land, and support weed management through activities such as the development of local weed strategies and community weed management programs. In some states, local governments are responsible for planning, coordinating and monitoring noxious weed control.
Your local government may be the most useful source for information on which weeds are problems 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.
Weeds have a major economic impact on industries such as agriculture, livestock, forestry, horticulture, nursery, landscaping, fishing, aquaculture, transport and tourism. Many industries are now taking the initiative in promoting policies, guidelines, standards and activities to manage weeds, detect new weeds and prevent the spread of weeds. Industry organisations can play an important role in assisting their members to understand the weed problem and to implement best practices for controlling and minimising weed spread.
Strong input from research and development organisations is essential to ensure that solutions are tailored to Australia's unique weed problems. Australia has a weeds research base that covers areas such as risk assessment, biological controls, impact quantification and new control techniques. Research into weeds is being undertaken and financed by all levels of government, tertiary education institutions, industry bodies and private companies.
The Australian Government implemented its 2007 election commitment of $15.3 million over four years, from 2008-09 to 2011-12, to establish a National Weeds and Productivity Research Program. In 2008-09, the program funded 39 projects worth $3.6 million.
The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation now manages the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program and has prepared a five year weed research plan.
The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australian Weed Management closed in June 2008.
There are over 4000 community-based groups in Australia, including Landcare, Coastcare and 'Friends of' groups that are strategically combating weed problems and many undertake coordinated activities to address priority issues.