Current Weed Inspection Programs
From 1 July 2017, the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 will be repealed and replaced with the Biosecurity Act 2015. As such the declaration status and control measure of any weeds listed on this page will be no longer relevant. HRCC has developed a Local Weeds Plan which guides the implementation of the new Act in relation to weeds.
Hawkesbury River County Council conducts programmed property inspections throughout our four council areas. Inspectors will be looking for, educating and advising landholders on priority weeds such as Mother of Millions Green Cestrum, African Boxthorn and Boneseed to name a few.
Biosecurity Act Obligations
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, all land owners, land managers or anyone that ‘deals’ with weeds has a ‘General Biosecurity Duty’ to prevent, eliminate or minimise the Biosecurity Risk posed or likely to be posed by Priority Weeds. The Act is implemented and enforced by the Local Control Authority (LCA), which in the case of the Blacktown City, Hawkesbury City, Penrith City and the Hills Shire Councils is Hawkesbury River County Council.
The Weed Inspection Process
Weeds that are declared a priority are those that have the potential to cause harm to the community, economy and the environment. The NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 uses a Risk Based Assessment process to prescribe actions that are deemed reasonably practical to prevent, eliminate or contain the risk. HRCC bases it inspections on that basis and the following strategic drivers:
- High risk pathways A linear feature in the landscape such as a road, rail corridor or waterway which allows weeds to travel along the pathway.
- Asset protection zones Areas of significant asset value which includes natural conservation areas and prime agricultural lands.
- Industry interface Education and relationship building with industry professionals involved in the movement of plant matter.
- Rapid response To respond to immediate new biosecurity weed threats.
- Weeds from neighbouring lands If a weed issue arises from a neighbouring land an authorised officer can inspect the property to assess whether the plant has legislative requirements to be controlled under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. If there are no legislative requirements but the officer deems the plant poses a significant biosecurity risk that can be reasonably and practicably addressed, then the matter may also be taken further. If this is not the case and you still can’t resolve the issue with your neighbour, contact Community Justice Centre to arrange for mediation.
- Weeds on public lands The Bushland Management teams from HRCC members LGAs undertake environmental weed control program in many reserves and waterways with work undertaken by private contractors and community volunteer Bushcare and Land Care groups. Please contact your local council.
- Follow up Inspections HRCC conducts follow up inspections as a compliment to an extensive weed surveying process conducted across the local government areas.
- Private land owners and occupiers in selected areas will be issued with a letter under Section 98 of The NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, advising that an inspection of their property will take place. A date will be provided, but if that date is inconvenient for you, Council can be contacted to make an alternative arrangement.
As part of the inspection process there are some tasks that the landholder is required to do prior to the property inspection, for the safety of the council staff that will be inspecting your property.The property needs to be made safe; dogs and dangerous animals need to be secured so that they do not negatively impact the inspection. Gates and obstacles need to clear and opened to allow full access to the property – (Section 103, The NSW Biosecurity Act 2015)
- If any priority weeds are identified on your property, you will be advised in a letter of “PRESENCE OF PRIORITY WEEDS” identifying the weeds that have been found. At this point you will be provided with information and technical support to assist you in their voluntary control.
- If you need assistance regarding any aspect of the “PRESENCE OF PRIORITY WEEDS” letter, please contact Council immediately on 4574 9600. To ensure compliance, your property will then be re-inspected on dates to be provided.
- Failure to comply with your obligations under Section 22 of the Act will result in a regulatory notice (Biosecurity direction) or a “Property Weed Management Plan” as a Biosecurity Undertaking Section 143.The Notice will be issued with compliance dates and an Authorised Officer will re-inspect on these dates.
- The property will be re-inspected (as mentioned above) and if compliance is met you will receive a “No Weeds – Thank You” letter from Council.
- If the property is still found to be non-compliant, a Regulatory notice will be issued informing that weed control will be conducted by Hawkesbury River County Council. This notice will incur an administration fee.
- Council will then organise for the required work to be carried out in a timely manner with all associated costs being invoiced to the owner of the property. (This is in addition to the administration fee).
- Council may grant an extension of time for you to act but will only be granted under extenuating circumstances and where the request is made a minimum of 14 days prior to the due date. All requests for an extension of time should be in writing and directed to the Operations Manager, Hawkesbury River County Council PO Box 6021 South Windsor DC 2756 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How To Remove The Weeds
The process of weed removal needs careful consideration. If you are intending to control the weeds yourself there are a number of aspects to consider. The use of any herbicides or chemicals must strictly follow the label instructions, and you must not infringe any other environmental legislation. This includes restrictions on spraying in sensitive vegetation areas such as drainage lines and any plant community listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
Please follow the instructions of our Authorised Officers, our follow the advice provided via our priority weeds page.
Using A Professional Contractor
For many people the simplest way of dealing with your weeds is to employ a professional weed control contractor. Council maintains a list of recommended contractors who have a proven track record of achieving compliance with notices whilst not infringing any other relevant legislation. For a list of these companies and their contact details are provided in the information sheet contained with the Weeds Presence Letter.
Council Advisory Service
If you have been asked to remove Weeds on your land and you wish to address the problem yourself but require advice, please contact HRCC.
HRCC can assist land owners with:
- Advice and training on safe and effective weed control methods
- Advice on herbicide selection
- Advice on controlling weeds in sensitive vegetation communities
- Tailored weed control strategies for individual sites
- Identification of weeds
- Legislative requirements