​Media Release

Weeding out a plan for invasive plants

9 December 2014

Weeds that have crept their way on to the list of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) will face the combined wrath of Australia’s states and territories with national agreement reached on plans for their management.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, commended the completion of the nationally agreed plans on weed management for minimising the impact of Australia’s worst invasive plants.

“A nationally agreed strategic plan for each of the 32 WoNS will prioritise actions, investment and management of these weeds, allowing for consistent and multi-state activities on high priority species,” Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said the need for a coordinated effort served to highlight the importance of biosecurity and the work conducted on shore, off shore and at our borders to minimise the risks of pests and diseases arriving and establishing in Australia.

“Invasive weeds can pose a serious threat to our natural environment and the production capabilities of our primary industries,” Minister Joyce said.

“A key step in effective weed management is to prevent potential weeds from arriving in Australia, meaning early detection and eradication is fundamental to reduce the costly and long-term impacts.”

In the past 12 years to 2012-13 the Australian Government has provided more than $13.7 million dollars to support national coordination of Weeds of National Significance.

“Australia's borders are not impenetrable. The Department of Agriculture—in partnership with governments, agencies, industry and the community—manages biosecurity services to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering and establishing in Australia and harming the health of people, animals and the environment,” Minister Joyce said.

“Biosecurity is a big job and is guided by the latest scientific advice available. Our onshore work in particular involves working the states and territories through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity to improve the national biosecurity system and identify priority areas for collaboration.”

The preparation of the strategic plans was tasked to the former Australian Weeds Committee which has recently merged with Vertebrate Pests Committee to form the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee (IPAC). The first meeting of IPAC was held in November, where the Committee determined governance arrangements and membership, in addition to progressing priority weed and pest management issues.

The 12 additional WoNS to the inaugural list of 20 include African boxthorn, Sagittaria, Asparagus weeds, Bellyache bush, Brooms, Cat’s claw creeper, Fireweed, Gamba grass, Madeira vine, Opuntioid cacti, Silverleaf nightshade and Water hyacinth.

For more information on Weeds of National Significance visit www.weeds.org.au/WoNS