Weeds and pesticides
A weed can be defined simply as a plant that is growing out of place, or in an unsuitable location. However, some weeds are declared to be 'priority weeds' by the Department of Primary Industries due to the significant negative impact that they can have on the community, the environment or the economy.
Weeds legislation has changed
On 1 July 2017 the new Biosecurity Act 2015 commenced, supported by the Biosecurity Regulations 2017. This replaced a number of Acts including the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.
All occupiers of land (including urban, rural, private and public) are responsible for ensuring that the risks posed by weeds found on their land are prevented, eliminated or minimised according to the Biosecurity Act 2015. The occupier in relation to land, includes any person having the care, control or management of the land.
To view the list of priority weeds for the Maitland Local Government Area, and the specific requirements under the Act, visit NSW Weedwise and select 'Maitland' from the region drop down list.
The general biosecurity duty information provided on the Department of Primary Industries website provides further information about your responsibilities in relation to weeds and what you can do to stop the spread.
As a land manager, Council must prevent, eliminate or minimise the risk posed by weeds found on land under its control, according to the Biosecurity Act 2015. Council is also the Local Control Authority for the Maitland Local Government Area, which means Council is responsible for administering and enforcing the Biosecurity Act 2015 in respect to weeds.
As a landowner in the Maitland area you may receive a letter from Council advising of an upcoming inspection for weeds on your property. The purpose of an inspection is to reduce the negative impact of weeds by identifying any weed issues and advising the occupier on best practice weed management. Following an inspection, Council will inform the occupier of their responsibilities (if any) under the Biosecurity Act 2015, in relation to weeds.
As an active member of the Hunter Regional Weeds Committee, Council is working together with the community, other councils, government agencies, and land managers within the Hunter region to achieve a coordinated and collaborative approach to weed management. This has resulted in the development of the Hunter Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2017 – 2022.
If you would like more information in relation to weeds in the Maitland area you can contact Council's Technical Weeds Advisor on 02 4934 9700.
The aim of the plan is to meet the community's general right to know about pesticide applications made to outdoor public places that are owned or controlled by Council, allowing members of the community to take action to avoid contact with pesticides, if they wish.
Council ensures that pesticides are applied to public places in a safe, responsible manner, minimising harm to the community and the environment. The provisions of this plan also apply to contractors engaged by Council where pesticide application is a component of the contract, as well as any other person or organisation applying pesticide to public land controlled by Council.
Council must manage priority weeds found in both terrestrial and aquatic environments in order to meet its requirements under the Biosecurity Act 2015. As a result, Council currently holds an Environment Protection Licence (Licence No 10393) under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act).
This licence authorises and regulates the application of herbicides to all waterbodies in the Maitland Local Government Area. The licence contains conditions which aim to minimise the environmental impacts of herbicide application, prevent water pollution and ensure the implementation of best practice weed management.
Under part 5.7A of the POEO Act, licensees are required to prepare a Pollution Incident Response Management Plan. These plans are designed to ensure that pollution incidents are minimised through the identification of risks and the development of planned actions to minimise and manage those risks, to ensure that emergency response procedures are developed and implemented in the event that an incident occurs.