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What is a Noxious Weed?

LantanaEach of us probably has a definition of the term ‘weed’ which does not exactly coincide with anyone else’s definition.  Broadly speaking a ‘weed’ is best defined as a plant growing out of place or where it is not wanted.

Weeds cost the Australian community some $4 billion annually.  Over two-thirds (66%) of our weeds were introduced legally as attractive garden ornamentals.  Every year at least 12 new species become naturalized somewhere in Australia.  Of these at least four become significant or major weeds.

Although there are many plants that could be classed as weeds, only those plants that spread widely and have a detrimental effect on the environment, or economy are considered as candidates for declaration as a noxious weed.  Declared noxious weeds are proclaimed by Order of the Minister for the Department of Primary Industries under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.  There is a legal requirement on landowners and occupiers to control these weeds once declared.  A weed is declared noxious only if reasonable and enforceable means are available to control it.

The Noxious Weeds Act 1993 specifies five control classes.  Every declared noxious weed is placed within a class.  Following are the five classes and the specified action for each class:

 

Class 1: State Prohibited Weeds*

 

Class 1 noxious weeds are plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment and are not present in the State or are present only to limited extent.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 requires for a Class 1 noxious weed, “The plant must be eradicated from the land and the land must be kept free of the plant.”

The control objective for weed control Class 1 is to prevent the introduction and establishment of those plants in NSW.

 

Class 2: Regionally Prohibited Weeds*

 

Class 2 noxious weeds are plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment of a region but are not present in the region or are present only to limited extent.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 requires for a Class 2 noxious weed, “The plant must be eradicated from the land and the land must be kept free of the plant.”

The control objective for weed control Class 2 is to prevent the introduction and establishment of those plants in parts of NSW.

 

Class 3:  Regionally Controlled Weeds

 

Class 3 noxious weeds are plants that pose a serious threat to primary production or the environment of an area and are not widely distributed in the area but are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 requires for a Class 3 noxious weed, “The weed must be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.”

The control objective for weed control Class 3 is to reduce the area and impact of those plants in parts of NSW.

 

Class 4:  Locally Controlled Weeds

 

Class 4 noxious weeds are plants that pose a serious threat to primary production, the environment or human health, are widely distributed in an area and are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 requires for a Class 4 noxious weed that “The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread". Many listed Class 4 weeds have an extra requirement "that they not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed.

The control objective for weed control Class 4 is to minimise the negative impact of those plants on the economy, community or environment of NSW.

 

Class 5: Restricted Weeds*

 

Class 5 noxious weeds are plants that are likely, by their sale or the sale of their seeds or movement within the State or area of the State, to spread in the State or outside the State.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 requires for a Class 5 noxious weed, “The requirements in the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 for a notifiable weed must be complied with."

The control objective for weed control class 5 is to prevent the introduction of those plants into NSW, the spread of those plants within NSW or from NSW to another jurisdiction. The aim is to prevent their sale, propagation and distribution.

 

* Class 1, 2 and 5 weeds are Notifiable Weeds under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.

As Notifiable weeds their presence must be reported to the LCA (IDNWA) within 3 days of occupiers becoming aware of any plants on the land. They also must not be sold, propagated or knowingly transported. A Permit under Section 34 of the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 is required prior to the movement or transportation of any notifiable weed material.

For a full list of plants declared noxious weeds within the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama council areas click here.