The Invasive Species Council has welcomed a review announced today by the NSW Government into invasive species management and biosecurity.
The review, which will be conducted by the Natural Resources Commission, is open for public submissions until 31 October 2023. It will look into priority risks and impacts of invasive species in NSW, including the effectiveness of current management strategies.
“We are very pleased to see the Minns Government following through on an important election commitment by announcing this review today,” said Jack Gough, Advocacy Manager for the Invasive Species Council
“We hope that this review will provide the new NSW Government with a platform to drive the reform, funding and focus needed to reduce the damage and prevent the next wave of invasive species driven extinctions.
“Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to our wildlife and ecosystems in NSW. Tackling them will require long-term strategic investments and policy reform.
“NSW faces an invasive species crisis due to the cumulative effect of recent natural disasters, climate change and underfunding.
‘Our frontline pest and weeds agencies are understaffed, underfunded and have been under enormous pressure over the last four years as they responded to fire, drought, floods, COVID-19 and the varroa mite outbreak.
“Weeds like lantana and madeira vine are smothering our native plants, feral foxes and cats prey upon our birds and small mammals and streams and wetlands are being trampled by hard-hoofed feral deer and horses.
“New threats on our doorstep like red imported fire ants or tilapia fish could cause new extinctions if they make it into NSW.
“We are particularly pleased to see the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Environment working together in commissioning this review.
“For too long invasive species policies and programs have failed to give environmental threats equal weight to industry priorities. Strong collaboration between the Environment and Agriculture Ministers and their departments is the key to changing this,” Mr Gough said.
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- The NSW Natural Resource Commission is inviting submissions from stakeholders to provide feedback on the review. Submissions will be open for four weeks and close 5pm 31 October 2023. Further details are available on the Have Your Say website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say/nsw-invasive-species-management-review
- The most recent NSW State of the Environment report found that the health of NSW’s environment is in significant decline, invasive species threaten more than 70% of threatened species and endangered ecological communities and the spread of emerging invasive species is getting worse.
- In addition to the environmental impact, previous NSW Natural Resource Commission reviews in 2014 and 2016 found that weeds in NSW account for at least $1.8 billion a year in lost production and pest animals cost the NSW economy more than $170 million every year.
- Every year feral and pet cats in Australia kill over 1 billion mammals, 400 million birds, 600 million reptiles and 90 million frogs.
- The feral deer population has grown tenfold in the past two decades to around 2 million animals and is spreading in NSW at a rate of about 1 million hectares per year.
- Feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park have increased 30% in the past two years to almost 19,000 despite a government commitment to reduce them to 3,000 by 2027.