The Invasive Species Council today called for better weed laws, policies and funding in NSW to tackle weed invasions that are overwhelming authorities and landholders.
The council has released a reform plan – Stopping NSW’s Creeping Peril – endorsed by more than 40 organisations representing a who’s who of environment and bush care groups, local councils and land management bodies.
“Weeds are recognised as one of the top three threats to endangered plants and animals in NSW,” ISC Policy Officer Dr Carol Booth said today.
“This threat is rapidly increasing as more weed species are introduced and spread into new areas.
“Most of the 340 weeds causing environmental harm in NSW were deliberately introduced as garden and pasture plants. Very few are banned, and many are still being sold.
“There are also no restrictions on the sale of thousands of potential new weed species. More than 99% of the 30,000 exotic plant species in Australia can be freely planted in NSW.
“And many emerging weeds are being left to spread. Kudzu is a superweed, one of the world’s 100 worst invaders, but an outbreak near Penrith that could get into the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system has been left untreated for two years.
“As well as causing serious ecological damage, weeds cost farmers $1.2 billion a year in NSW and are one of the major causes of allergies.
“This is one of the biggest gaps in NSW environmental laws and policies. Taking action on weeds creates substantial environmental, social and economic advantages.”
Stopping NSW’s Creeping Peril calls for the following changes:
Restricting new plant introductions, including nursery sales, to those assessed as low risk.
Eradicating selected new invaders and more vigorously preventing the spread of weeds into new areas.
Requiring a duty of care and implementing the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
Using federal laws to address nationally significant weed threats.
Better sharing of responsibility for weeds between the agricultural and environmental arms of government and providing a greater role for regional authorities to implement weed plans.
A major boost in funding to tackle new weed outbreaks and support volunteer and land manager control efforts.
For more information about this report or for media comment please contact Dr Carol Booth, Invasive Species Council Policy Officer, on 0448 868 984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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