FAQ Weed Control

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"Weeds are among the most serious threats to Tasmania's primary production and natural environment. They reduce farm and forest productivity, displace and degrade native species and communities, and contribute significantly to land and water degradation" (WeedPlan - the Tasmanian Weed Management Strategy).

A number of plants have been declared as weeds under the Weed Management Act 1999 because of the actual or potential adverse impact on Tasmania's natural or agricultural environment.

Councils are responsible for controlling weeds on their own property but are not responsible for weed management on all property. Under the Weed Management Act 1999 all landholders must take an active part in controlling or eradicating weeds on their property. Under Section 34 of the Act , councils may choose to employ a weed inspector to assist with weed management in their area.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What is a weed?

Weeds are plants that grow where they are not wanted. Nevertheless, what is a weed in one situation may be a valued plant under different circumstances.

Seventy-seven plants have been officially declared as weeds under the Weed Management Act 1999. These plants can cause, or have already caused:

  • reduced farm production
  • degradation of the State's natural or physical resources
  • degradation of ecological processes, or
  • reduction in the genetic diversity of native plants.

Once plants are declared weeds under the Act, there are restrictions on their trade, sale, import, movement and disposal.

Under Section 15 of the Act, a Weed Management Plan must be drawn up for each plant within 12 months of it being declared a weed. These Plans are produced by the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE), and go through a public consultation phase before becoming statutory plans under the Act.

The Weed Management Plans set out the restrictions and approaches for weed reduction or eradication. They apply equally to public and private landholders. Back to FAQ List

2. Which plants have been declared as weeds in Tasmania?

Seventy-seven plant species have been declared weeds under the Weed Management Act1999 as at May 2003. Back to FAQ List

3. If there are declared weeds on my land, what does it mean?

The Weed Management Act 1999 puts obligations on all landholders, whether public and private, to actively control or eradicate any declared weeds on their property. Weed Management Plans provide detailed information on the legal obligations for landowners with declared weeds. This includes restrictions on:

  • sale
  • trade
  • importation
  • movement of declared weeds, or anything that may be contaminated by declared weeds.

In areas where declared weeds have not yet been recorded, it is everyone's responsibility to prevent the weeds getting established and to look out for new infestations.

If you travel from areas interstate or overseas infected with declared weeds, it is important that you check all your belongings for seeds, fruit and plant matter, or get quarantine officials to check them when you arrive in Tasmania. The Plant Quarantine Act 1997 restricts the importation of some plants.

Weed inspectors can require action to be taken to remove weeds. Council's Weed Inspector can be contacted on (03) 6443 8333. Back to FAQ List

4. How do I identify the weeds in my area?

Council can provide you with information brochures to help you identify weeds in your area. Contact Council's Weeds Inspector on (03) 6443 8333.

Council can also give you the contact details of community groups operating in the area such as Bushcare or Landcare groups, the Understorey Network or various 'Friends' groups which are often involved in weed management activities.

The Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment DPIWE website also has a lot of information on weeds, and provides identification assistance as well as information on control and management techniques.

There are several good publications around that have pictures of weeds:

  • A Guide to Garden Plants that are Going Bush and Becoming Environmental Weeds in the Tamar Region;
  • Environmental Weeds of Southern Tasmania.

These brochures are available through DPIWE Regional Weed Management Officers

The Coastcare Manual has colour photos of a number of common coastal weeds and pictures of native plants that can look similar. If in doubt, do not pull it out - get advice first. The Manual is available from the Tasmanian Environment Centre, 105 Bathurst St. for $5.50. Ph: (03) 6234 5566

Coastal Weeds of Tasmania; Are You Growing an Invader? - This publication is freely available through DPIWE's Coastal and Marine Branch. Ph: (03) 6233 3963.

The Tasmanian Weed Handbook is to be updated soon.

Fact sheets on the control of declared weeds are available from DPIWE. Back to FAQ List

5. How do I control weeds?

There are a number of key steps to successful weed control:

  • Plan weed control activities carefully.
  • Find out the different options for weed r e moval before starting.
  • Make weed control activities strategic - start in areas that have few weeds and gradually work in towards the main infestations.
  • Concentrate on clearing weeds from areas that are mostly in good condition.
  • Be prepared to sustain the effort. You could actually make the problem worse by clearing too much too soon and not doing enough follow-up work.
  • Get adjacent land managers to work together to eradicate the weeds. Back to FAQ List
6. Is there any funding assistance available to help control weeds on my land?

Some weeds have been declared Weeds of National Significance and there is funding available, through the Federal Government, to remove them.

In Tasmania, the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE) is responsible for the Weed Management Plans to control the following Weeds of National Significance:

Clarence City Council can provide further information on the Serrated Tussock Program. Ph: (03) 6245 8714

Contact Greening Australia Tasmania Inc on Ph: 03 6223 6377 for further information on Gorse, Blackberry and Willow projects.

Some other weeds, such as Rice grass, also have specific removal programs. Contact your DPIWE Regional Weed Management Officers for more information. Back to FAQ List

7. How do I remove the Weeds?

The actions you need to take to remove weeds in your area depend on:

  • the weed(s) you are dealing with
  • the environmental conditions.

Successful weed control requires consideration of both the characteristics of the plant as well as the context in which it is growing. What may be a successful and acceptable solution in one situation may be ineffective or inappropriate in another. Seek professional advice before undertaking weed control work.

Often an integrated approach that uses a combination of control methods is required to effectively deal with a weed. These methods may include:

  • pulling or digging out by hand or by machine
  • mulching or establishing competitive vegetation
  • grazing, mowing or slashing
  • spraying with appropriate herbicides.

When using chemicals:

  • take adequate safety precautions, eg wear gloves and sturdy footwear
  • always read the instructions on the label
  • be particularly careful near lakes and waterways as some chemicals harm aquatic ecosystems.

Some weeds need a variety of methods to successfully remove them and some follow-up work will nearly always be required.

Contact your local DPIWE Regional Weed Management Officers , your council weed management officer (03) 6443 8333 or join a local community group to find out more. Back to FAQ List

8. What are the Council's responsibilities regarding weeds?

Under the Weed Management Act 1999 , Weed Management Plans have been prepared for all declared weeds. These plans specify municipal areas where the weed must be eradicated and where the weed must at least be contained.

Weed Management Plans provide the legal framework by which weed law enforcement can occur.

The Weed Management Plans in the Waratah-Wynyard municipal area lists the priority plants for eradication or control as being Ragwort, Broom. Pampas Grass, Slender Thistle, Crack Willow and Gorse.

A number of councils have prepared Weed Management Strategies that detail specific approaches to weed management within the municipality. There may also be an appointed weed inspector within council.

Council's Weed Management Strategy details its specific approach to weed management within the municipal area. {link to Weed Management Strategy on website}

Councils have some obligations under Section 39 of the Local Government (Highways) Act 1982 to keep roadsides clear of vegetation that may obstruct sightlines or become dangerous, including weedy vegetation. Back to FAQ List

9. Where can I go for further information?

Contact the Weed Management Section in the Resource Management and Conservation Division of the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment at GPO Box 44, HOBART 7001 or phone: 1300 368 550.

Three DPIWE Regional Weed Management Officers can provide advice and assistance on weed management. Contact details are:

In the North: 165 Westbury Road PROSPECT TAS 7249
Phone: (03) 6336 5429

In the North-West: Stoney Rise Government Offices, DEVONPORT TAS 7310
Phone: (03) 6421 7654

In the South; 134 Macquarie Street HOBART TAS 7000
Phone: (03) 6233 3650

For further information, have a look at the Australian Weeds search website . Back to FAQ List

Waratah Wynyard Council
21 Saunders Street : PO Box 168, Wynyard TAS 7325
Phone (03) 6443 8333 : Fax (03) 6443 8383 : Email: council@warwyn.tas.gov.au
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