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. 

Impacts

NATIONAL

  • 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
    Australians.

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.

REGIONAL

  • In 2022 protected Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area from feral deer by securing a commitment in the Tasmanian governments deer strategy to keep the WHA deer free.
  • 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
    Tropics
    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.

  • The Invasive Species Council played an important role in the successful National Parks Association of NSW campaign to defeat recreational hunting in national parks and the abolition of the NSW Game Council in 2013.
  • 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.

Successes

  • 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
environment.

  • 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
Australia.

  • 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).

Achievements

  • 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.

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