Changes to the NSW Noxious Weed Act in 1993

In NSW there has been some movement on the Noxious Weed Act 1993 with the Act being amended by two pieces of recent NSW legislation - the first being the Noxious Weeds Amendment Bill 2012 and the second via general strengthening of Biosecurity in NSW under Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill 2012.

In 2011, the NGINA provided a submission to NSW DPI regarding an issues paper proposing changes to the Noxious Weed Act 1993. These issues were not seen as an impediment or increased regulation for industry and feedback was provided on behalf of industry to support improved prevention, control and management of noxious weeds in NSW.

As for weeds the changes to the Noxious Weed Act 1993, they are only fairly minor and there does not appear to be anything that should really adversely impact the nursery industry at this stage. In summary these are:

Delegation of inspector/authorised officer powers

A local control authority may delegate to a person any of the local control authoritys functions under this Act (other than this power of delegation) but only under this power of delegation.

Strengthened powers for inspections and investigations

Inspectors and authorised officers now have broadened powers when entering premises to investigate breaches of the Act

Expansion of the range of machinery/equipment that may spread noxious weeds

Agricultural machinery and equipment specified by an order and applies to movement to NSW from all states and territories and movement within NSW.

Notification of notifiable weeds

A new section (16A) has been added to broaden the reporting obligation of consultants/ agronomists/advisors, departmental staff (including Catchment Management and Livestock Health and Pest Authority officers), council staff and contractors that:

A person who, in a professional capacity, becomes aware or suspects that a plant on land is a notifiable weed must notify the local control authority for the land of that fact within 24 hours of becoming aware or suspecting that the notifiable weed is on the land

There are a range of other changes which include:

  • new requirements to ensure land owners provide details of occupiers to allow a Local Control Authority to issue written notice;
  • stronger restrictions to regulate/prohibit noxious weed material introduction;
  • changes to declarations of a quarantine area;
  • clarifications of aspects of weed control orders and in the dictionary;
  • changes for emergency weed control order terms and in their notification;
  • an expansion in the range of emergency orders, actions and periods; and
  • the notification of weeds on Lord Howe Island.

For more information please see Noxious Weeds Act 1993 moving with the times.pdf or contact Michael Danelon, Industry Development Officer NGINA.