Council received a report in March detailing changes to the way Noxious Weeds are classified and managed. These changes were introduced by the Noxious Weeds Amendment Act 2005, gazetted in late 2005 with amendments effective from the 1st of March 2006.
In particular the report detailed amendments to legislation that changed the previous classification system from four classes of weeds (W1 to W4) to a new five tiered classification. The most significant changes in this area relate to the new class 4 weeds.
CLASS 4 - LOCALLY CONTROLLED WEEDS
Previously under the Noxious Weeds Act control measures were prescribed for all weed classes. These measures set out the level to which each class must be controlled by law.
The recent amendments to the Act include the introduction of new provisions for "Class 4 - locally controlled weeds". Rather than specify a level of control the prescribed control measure for this class states that:
"...the growth and spread of the plant must be controlled according to the measures specified in a management plan published by the Local Control Authority"
Currently Class 4 noxious weeds include around 55 species across the region and around 30 in most local government areas within the region. These include many invasive weed species such as pampas grass, blackberry and African boxthorn. The class 4 classification includes most weeds formerly classified as W3.
Implications of Class 4 amendments
The main implications for Councils of the Class 4 amendments are as follows;
- All Class 4 weeds must have a published control plan which sets the level of control which will be required for that weed. The amendments allow Local Control Areas to be more flexible in their approach to managing Class 4 weeds by tailoring control measures to suit their circumstances in relation to particular weeds.
- The measures set out in the control plans will apply to both the public and Local Control Authorities and will be legally enforceable. They may also be altered by Local Control Authorities by adopting and publishing a new plan.
- The control plans will need to be approved by Councils and made available through media such as the web and at Councils' Offices before they are enforceable. Until this time no enforcement of control of these species will be possible.
- In some cases it may be desirable to specify different control options for different areas within an LCA based on whether it is a core or non-core area for that weed. This will require adequate mapping of Class 4 weeds so that such areas could be clearly identified
Councils were given a six month transition period from March the 1st to have plans written for each individual weed in this class. A number of plans for Class 4 weeds have been developed in conjunction with other Councils in the Hunter and Central Coast Area and are provided below.
Serrated Tussock (PDF 31KB)
Scotch Broom (PDF 31KB)
Nodding Thistle (PDF 31KB)
African Boxthorn (PDF 35KB)
Blackberry (PDF 35KB)
Johnson Grass & Columbus Grass (PDF 35KB)
Rhus Tree (PDF 35KB)
Spiny Emex (PDF 34KB)
Water Hyacinth (PDF 42KB)
Prickly Pear (PDF 34KB)