The Weed Management Act 1999An important component in delivering State Weed Management Strategy (WeedPlan) recommendations was the need for appropriate weed legislation which assists weed management programs in Tasmania to achieve their objectives.
The Weed Management Act 1999, which replaced the Noxious Weeds Act 1964, provides for the development of a management plan for a specific weed prior to its proclamation as a ‘noxious weed’. This is essential if the proclamation of a weed is to result in its long term management.
The new legislation updates existing weed legislation in terms of terminology and general structure; clarifies some working definitions and makes the legislation more user friendly.
The objectives of the Act further the objectives of the resource management and planning system (RMPS) of Tasmania and, in particular, provides for the control and eradication of weeds having regard to the need to:
(a) minimise the deleterious effects of weeds on the sustainability of Tasmania’s productive capacity and natural ecosystems; and
(b) promote a strategic and sustainable approach to weed management; and
(c) encourage community involvement in weed management; and
(d) promote the sharing of responsibility for weed management between the different spheres of government, natural resource managers, the community and industry in Tasmania.
- Defines a new consultative and objective process for declaring weeds, based on the preparation of a Ministerial Statement of Intent (SoI) to declare a species. The SoI will be a dossier on the plant species in question including the results of an objective Weed Risk Assessment system, and information on economic, environmental, and social effects/impacts. The Minister’s intent to declare the species will be advertised and the SoI made available for a period of 30 days and public submissions sought.
- Broad conditions for declaring a plant as a weed under legislation include potential adverse impact on Tasmania’s productive capacity, natural or physical resources, genetic diversity, or maintenance of ecological processes. The Minister must have regard for nature conservation, social, and economic matters.
- An emergency declaration mechanism will be included. A plant can be declared rapidly with an interim SoI. The Minister is then required to follow the formal process of ‘intent to declare’ within a set time period or the declaration lapses
- The same scientific/consultative process applies to remove a declaration.
- A significant improvement is the necessity for declared weeds to have a documented Weed Management Plan (WMP) attached. A declaration cannot persist without such a plan.
- A proposed WMP is to include:
- Target weed
- Objectives and methods
- Effect on environment if strategy is implemented
- Cost of strategy and proposed funding method to implement
- Monitoring /Evaluation methods
- Time period
- Region or area of operation
- Public comment must be sought by Minister on draft WMPs prior to signing off. Reviewed at least every 5 years.
- It will be a requirement that once a plant becomes a declared weed based on the SoI, a WMP must be finalised within 12 months otherwise declaration will lapse. This ensures that not only is there a sound scientific basis for declaration, but that appropriate actions accompany a declaration that will minimise the risk of the declared plant to Tasmania.
- Weed Management Plans will be the product of extensive consultation and can be initiated by Government or other organisations including community groups.
- In addition to inspector appointments within State and local government, provision will be made to appoint outside of these sectors eg. community weed management groups, Forestry Tasmania, etc.
- Requirement for appropriate competency for appointed inspectors.
- Variable levels of delegated power under the Act enabling Secretary (DPIW) to restrict geographically (eg. municipal inspectors) or weed species (eg. Pampas forestry inspectors)
- Inclusion of an infringement mechanism enabling inspectors to issue ‘on-the -spot’ fines for offences.
- A requirement notice replaces the old enforcement notice referred to in the Noxious Weeds Act. An inspector can order appropriate action to be taken against a declared weed as long as it is consistent with a weed management plan.
- Appeal mechanism available at all levels.
See also the Weed Management Act 1999 information sheet for more details.
- Ability for Minister to declare an area infested or protected enabling specific rapid actions to be taken against a declared plant species.
- Strategic and regional declarations possible within the WMP for each declared species.
The Weed Management Act 1999 is available on the Tasmanian Legislation website: www.thelaw.tas.gov.au. Use the search engine of this website to locate the Act.