Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Dr GOODWIN
In view of an apparent increase in weed infestations in north‑west Tasmania, and in regard to the weeds management generally in Tasmania:
(1) What responsibilities does the state government have?
(2) What responsibilities does local government have?
(3) What barriers are there to effective weed management and control?
(4) Which local government bodies have weed management officers or similar positions employed?
Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Murchison for her question.
(1) The state government has responsibility for administering the Weed Management Act 1999. As part of that responsibility, government officers authorised under the act contact landowners with declared weeds on their properties, and inform them of their responsibilities under the act. If they fail to comply, they can then be served with a requirement notice, and potentially an infringement notice.
It is important to note that each declared weed has a statutory weed management plan, which establishes a framework for management and control in each municipality. For a given municipality, a declared weed may either be a 'zone A' weed, with the objective of eradication, or a 'zone B' weed, where containment is the objective.
Zones reflect the extent of the particular weed in a municipality. There are 115 weeds declared under the act. In order to maximise effective control, priority is given to those weeds that are known to be a significant threat and can be effectively controlled, and in some cases, eradicated.
(2) Biosecurity Tasmania writes to all councils each year, inviting them to send officers to weed inspector training workshops. There are one to two workshops run each year, depending on demand.
Once the officers have completed the training, councils are able to appoint the officers under the act as authorised weed inspectors.
Local government weed inspectors have equivalent powers to state government officers, being able to serve requirement notices and infringement notices and to undertake works in default. However, whilst the state government provides support and advice on priorities for weed control, it is the council itself that is responsible for determining weed management priorities at the municipal level.
(3) The Weed Management Act 1999 operates under the principle that weed management is a shared responsibility involving landowners and land managers, industry, and local and state government. Whilst regulation is an option, successful weed management relies on cooperative measures.
There are in excess of 100 weed inspectors spread across state government, local government and government business enterprises. Many of those inspectors have specific responsibilities such as quarantine at ports or responsibility for land managed by the Crown. The greatest challenge is to ensure that landowners and all those stakeholders mentioned have an understanding of their responsibilities and a willingness to accept those responsibilities.
The state government works proactively to engage with those stakeholders and encourage their participation in the weed inspector network.
(4) Biosecurity Tasmania maintains a database of authorised weed inspectors. The numbers fluctuate due to normal staff movements of inspectors. Currently there are 19 councils with weed inspectors, with some councils sharing officers, including Break O'Day Council, Burnie City Council, Central Highlands Council, Circular Head Council, Clarence City Council, Derwent Valley Council, Devonport City Council, George Town Council, Glamorgan/Spring Bay Council, Glenorchy City Council, Hobart City Council, Huon Valley Council, Kentish Council, Kingborough Council, Sorell Council, Southern Midlands Council, Tasman Council, Waratah-Wynyard Council and West Tamar Council.Go Back