About Us

We have a proud history of standing up to protect Australia's incredible natural world from the multiple threats of dangerous pest animals, weeds and diseases.

Our Wins

The Invasive Species Council is the only environmental NGO with a national focus on invasive species.  For two decades the Invasive Species Council has punched above its weight and led community efforts to protect Australia from invasive species – one of Australia’s most important and difficult conservation challenges. 



  • In 2021, won a commitment by state, territory and federal
    government to make 2020’s the Decade of
    Biosecurity, to build a stronger system to protect all

This includes goals such as making
biosecurity a priority, mobilising
all Australians to play their part
and establishing a framework for
funding to effectively deliver on
increased biosecurity goals that
can protect Australia’s
environment as well as human
and animal health.

  • In 2018 secured the appointment of a Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer, a permanent role within the federal government with a dedicated focus on the environment, largely working to prevent invasive threats from arriving and establishing in Australia.
  • In 2017 secured $411 million in a 10-year commitment to eradicate red fire ants from S.E. Queensland and stop their spread across Australia, the world’s most ambitious ant eradication program.
  • In 2012, the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation instituted a requirement for risk assessment prior to research projects being initiated, preventing new industries being setup that would rely on growing invasive weeds or farming pest animals. They have since reneged. More work is needed here.
  • In 2009, the federal government rejected an application to import bumblebees for horticulture.
  • A 2014 review of weed management in NSW recommended a ban on the sale of weedy plants by plant nurseries. Secured a promise to implement this recommendation from the NSW Labor Opposition prior to the 2014 and 2019 elections.
  • A 2009 national review of Australia’s environmental law recommended national reform to regulate environmental weeds.
Our CEO Andrew Cox with Ian Thompson at a biodiversity roundtable in 2019.

Our CEO Andrew Cox with Ian Thompson at a biosecurity roundtable in 2019.


  • In 2022, we secured a commitment to protect the Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area in the Tasmanian governments deer strategy.
  • In 2021, protected Kosciuszko National Park from a growing plague of feral horses by winning a new NSW plan to actively manage feral horses from 14,000 to 3000 by 2026.
  • In 2019, won the official designation for feral deer to be recognised as a priority pest and the removal of feral deer protected status in NSW allowing for effective feral deer management.
  • From 2022 – 2016 Protecting Queensland’s Wet
    World Heritage Area from Yellow crazy ants
    which are now in retreat with an eradication program in
    place for the tropical far north in Cairns.
In 2016, secured funding (2016 to 2022)
for eradication from the Wet Tropics
World Heritage Area. The program
remains on track to achieve
eradication. Some 85% of the
2,135 hectare infestation area has
been fully treated and is now
subject to long-term monitoring
and spot treatment.
  • In 2021, won a stronger feral horses plan for Victoria’s Alpine National Park which utilises the full suite of control measures to drive down feral horse numbers (including ground and aerial shooting) and aims to eliminate them from the sensitive alpine ecosystems on the Bogong High Plains, working with Victorian National Parks Association.
  • In 2020, secured a new Victorian deer management strategy that prioritises the environment following years of pressure and collaboration.
  • In 2020 secured $18M over 4 years in Victorian government investment for on-ground feral deer control as part of the new deer management strategy.
  • In 2013 defeated a proposal for recreational hunting
    in national park
    s and brought about the abolition of the
    NSW Game Council, working with the National Parks
    Association of NSW

The Invasive Species Council’s critique
of recreational hunting for feral animal
control has built awareness within the
conservation sector and general community
about effective pest control programs.

  • In 2011, successfully lobbied to stop research trials of giant reed in SA, promoted as a major biofuel crop and listed by the IUCN on the list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive species.
  • In 2008, won a Queensland Government declaration and banning of one of Australia’s worst weeds – bushfire causing gamba grass.
  • Our work in 2004 led to the Queensland Government declaring Mexican bean tree (Cecropia spp.), which is on the IUCN list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive species, as a weed species.


  • In 2019 and 2022, co-hosted Australia’s 1st and 2nd Biosecurity Symposium – an unprecedented opportunity to foster new
    collaborations and transform Australia’s future biosecurity system to better protect our economy, environment and way of life.

The Invasive Species Council
co-hosts this event with Animal
Health Australia, Plant Health
Australia and the Centre of
Invasive Species Solutions. The
Biosecurity Symposium brings
together a collective of
government, industry and
community sectors to build a
stronger biosecurity system for
Australia by 2030 by influencing
the direction of biosecurity
systems, today. Biosecurity
includes agriculture (animals and
plants), pest animals, weeds,
wildlife, aquatics, humans and the

  • A 2021 Senate inquiry report called for national declaration of feral deer as a pest.

In 2018-19, our advocacy triggered
a Senate inquiry into invasive deer,
pigs and goats, leading to a 2021
report with strong recommendations
that should considerably improve
action on these harmful invasive
species in the coming years.

  • In 2020, initiated the formation of a powerful alliance representing agricultural and environmental interests – the Biosecurity
    Collective – to create the Biosecurity 2030 Project that confronts Australia’s unprecedented biosecurity challenges.

The Biosecurity 2030 Project
includes both environment and
agriculture organisations – Animal
Health Australia, Invasive Species
Council, Centre for Invasive Species
Solutions and Plant Health

  • In 2017, succeeded in pushing the NSW government to publish Australia’s first ever State of Biosecurity Report.
  • In 2014, the Invasive Species Council won a Senate inquiry into environmental biosecurity. The report, released in May 2015,
    referred to Invasive Species Council evidence 85 times and was the precursor to environmental biosecurity needs being elevated
    to that of human health and agriculture.

In 2017, building on the work of
the Senate inquiry into
environmental biosecurity, a final
report of the independent review
of biosecurity accepted that
environmental biosecurity needs
to be given equal consideration to
human health and agricultural
production and recommended
major structural changes to better
address environmental risks.

  • From 2013 – 2004, the Invasive Species Council influenced a senate inquiry on weeds and pests (2004), a review of quarantine and biosecurity (2008), a review of federal environmental laws (2009), a House of Representatives Inquiry on climate change and biodiversity (2013), and a senate inquiry into threatened species and communities (2013).


  • The Invasive Insects Risks and Pathways Project developed Australia’s first assessment of non-native insect species that pose a high
    risk to the environment. The comprehensive assessment of potential impacts, completed in partnership with Monash University,
    identified exotic insect species that have the potential to cause major harm to the natural environment if they ever reach Australia.

While all recommendations have not
yet been adopted, the project developed
best practice methods for
undertaking these types of
assessments and increased the focus
on environmental risks within
Australia’s biosecurity system.

  • In 2020, developed a 10-year plan to eradicate yellow crazy ants from the Townsville area.

The Invasive Species Council has
now worked with Townsville City
Council, Biosecurity Queensland,
the Wet Tropics Management
Authority and James Cook
University to develop a 10-year
plan to eradicate yellow crazy ants
from the Townsville area.

  • In 2007, the Invasive Species Council was the first NGO in the world to focus attention on the serious weed risks of proposed biofuel crops.

Our widely cited 2007 report
'The Weedy Truth about Biofuels’
was the first to assess the invasion
risks of biofuels proposed for
Australia. the Invasive Species
Council assisted the Global
Invasive Species Program to
identify weedy biofuels for the
World Bank. Our work was used
to produce a Biofuels Information
Exchange portal.

Topics:about ISC

Dear National Deer Management Coordinator,

Please accept this as a submission to the National Feral Deer Action Plan.

[Your personalised message will appear here] 

I am very concerned about the spread of deer and am pleased that a national plan has finally been developed. Without urgent action, funding and commitment from all levels of government it is clear that feral deer will continue to spread and damage our environment.

The feral deer population in Australia is growing rapidly and spreading across the country, damaging our natural environment, causing havoc for farmers and foresters and threatening public safety. Unlike much of the world where deer are native, our plants and wildlife haven’t evolved to deal with these heavy hard hooved animals with a voracious appetite.
With no natural predators and an ability to adapt to almost all environments, they could occupy almost all of Australia unless stopped. Despite this, state and territory governments have been slow to respond and in Victoria and Tasmania they are still protected by law for the enjoyment of hunters.

This plan should be adopted by all governments but must also be underpinned by dedicated funding and clear responsibilities. A plan without funding or accountability is a plan that will fail and Australia cannot afford for this to fail.

In order to prevent the spread of feral deer and reduce their impact on our native wildlife, ecosystems and agriculture, I ask that the following recommendations be adopted for the final National Feral Deer Action Plan:

1. All federal, state and territory governments should adopt the National Feral Deer Action Plan and declare feral deer to be a priority pest animal species.

2. All federal, state and territory governments should commit to:

  • Contain deer to the existing large population areas.
  • Reduce and eradicate smaller and isolated populations.
  • Protect important environmental assets such as world and national heritage areas.
  • Develop and fund regional plans and strategies to manage deer populations which involve land managers across all tenures.

3. In order to drive action and the success of this plan, there should be dedicated Commonwealth funding and support for:

  • A permanent national feral deer coordinator position.
  • A permanent federal feral deer action committee with representatives from the commonwealth and state and territory governments and the environmental and agricultural sectors.
  • An ongoing public education campaign on feral deer.
  • A network of regional feral deer coordinators to drive local action across tenures.

4. The expected outcomes for the plan need to be more ambitious, with clear interim targets including:

  • Within one year, all States and Territories should have in place arrangements to implement the National Feral Deer Action Plan, including allocating dedicated funding for implementation.
  • Within one year, feral deer management plans should be developed for key environmental assets of national significance, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the Greater Blue Mountains, the Australian Alps, the Gondwana Rainforests and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.
  • Within five years coordinated landscape scale management should be in place where land owners, land managers, government and community are demonstrably working together.

5. A national feral deer containment map with three zones should be adopted. It should be more ambitious than the zone map in the current draft plan and there should be greater clarity in the naming of the zones. Improvements that should be adopted include:

  • Renaming the zones to better reflect the management intention to ‘Containment Zone 1’ (the current large population zone), ‘Containment Buffer Zone 2’ (the current buffer zone) and ‘Eradication and prevention Zone 3’ (the current small isolated population zone).
  • The NSW northern rivers area should be in the eradication and prevention zone as there are few feral deer currently in this region and eradicating isolated populations and preventing spread into this area is still possible.
  • The whole of South Australia should be in the eradication and prevention zone as eradication is the goal of the SA Government.
  • The Tasmanian region in the containment zone should be smaller to reflect greater ambition and potential for eradication of deer populations.
  • In eastern Victoria areas such as Wilson’s Promontory, Westernport islands and the Mornington Peninsula should be in the eradication and prevention zone.

6. There should be consistent laws and regulations across all states and territories that:

  • Recognise feral deer as a pest animal and treat them as such.
  • Establish a clear responsibility for all landholders and managers to be involved in feral deer control programs.
  • Set clear penalties to stop the wilful or negligent release of feral deer.
  • Prevent new deer farms in areas where no feral deer are present and phase out all deer farms in the eradication and prevention zone.
  • Enable enforcement of compliance, including on government land.

I support the follow principles being adopted in the final National Feral Deer Action Plan:

  • Feral deer are a pest and should be treated as such on all tenures, except on approved deer farms.
  • Federal, state and territory governments have a responsibility to fund the outcomes under this plan.
  • All land managers in areas where feral deer are present have a responsibility to be involved in feral deer control programs.
  • The focus of management efforts should be on eradication of isolated, satellite populations, protection of key environmental assets currently impacted and stopping the spread to new regions.
  • Feral deer control should be undertaken humanely, safely and professionally according to agreed protocols and all tools which meet this criteria should be adopted, including aerial control.
  • Funding for coordination, regional planning and community engagement is necessary for effective feral deer management.
  • Ongoing management and follow up control efforts are required to achieve long lasting results.
  • Rules and regulations should be consistent across jurisdictions and land tenures.
  • Recreational hunting is not an effective strategy for feral deer control and should not be relied upon.
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your suburb], [Your state]