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What is Biosecurity Legislation and What does it mean?

The Biosecurity Act 2015 came into enforcement in July 2017. The Act replaces 14 other Acts, including the Noxious Weed Act and the old 1-5 classification of weeds. 'Biosecurity' now relates to a broad area including livestock, diseases, pest and weeds.

All stakeholders in the community now have a legal requirement to manage weeds and pests as a General Biosecurity Duty, whether they are the owner, occupier or even a carrier. The Act also covers the sale of some weed plant species and even the importation of weeds not present in NSW.

Under the Biosecurity legislation, it is Port Stephens Councils' responsibility to manage weeds and pests on their own lands. Port Stephens Councils' Invasive Species Team also functions under the Biosecurity Act as the Local Control Authority for weeds within the Local Government Area. Their role is to investigate, educate, control, inspect and undertake compliance if required.

As Authorised Officers under the Act, Port Stephens Councils' Invasive Species Team may be required to enter, inspect, and carry out other functions as prescribed by the legislation on private lands, including weed education and compliance. The Invasive Species Team will always take due care on private lands and where practical, notify owners prior to entry.

For more information on how we prioritise weeds, read the Local Weed Prioritisation Policy on our Policies page.

The Chinese Violet Control Order

First discovered in Australia at Boat Harbour in 1999 Chinese violet spread quickly to other Port Stephens suburbs before the actions of council officers managed to contain the spread and protect the rest of the country from its impacts. To this day Port Stephens remains the home of this nasty weed, housing over 95% of the countries infestations

This weed causes massive losses in agricultural productivity and has severe environmental impacts where it grows overseas. It has been subject of an eradication program for Port Stephens Council for more than 10 years, and along with the Hunter Regional Weeds Committee, PSC sort the help of the NSW State Weeds Committee last year to determine if the program should continue to press for eradication, or scale back to protecting priority sites.

The State Weeds committee, after looking at the information provided by Port Stephens Council decided that we had done enough to stop the weeds invasion, eradicated it in around 10% of site across the Local Government Area, and that full eradication is still possible, but that improvements in efficiencies would be needed.

To that end, the Minister for Primary Industries published a Biosecurity (Chinese Violet) Control Order on 24 May 2019, under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, effective from 1 July 2019. The control order ensures owners of land affected by Chinese Violet will:

  1. Immediately destroy all Chinese violet on your land
  2. Ensure that subsequent generations of Chinese violet are destroyed and
  3. Keep the land free of Chinese violet.

If you have been actively engaged in helping to eradicate this weed and protect Port Stephens from its impacts as per the Control Order — nothing changes for you. The Invasive Species Team wish to thank you for your assistance and encourage you to remain vigilant in managing Chinese violet.

All properties affected will be inspected on a quarterly basis as part of Councils continuing inspection program to ensure the above conditions are being maintained. Although not required by legislation, as a courtesy to residents, the Invasive Species Team will notify owners prior to inspection. If Chinese violet is found upon inspection Council officers will be acting immediately to control the plants and reduce the risk of spread, saving the owner from further penalties. If council is required to undertake this work on residents behalf, we will seek to recover the cost incurred in doing so. Charges will be made in accordance with Councils Scheduled Fees and Charges. For rates payers enduring hardship or financial difficulties you can apply to Council for exemptions as per Councils Debt recovery and Hardship Policy.

For More Information

For more information on Chinese Violet, go to Council's Priority Weeds Page.

More information on the Biosecurity Act, the Chinese Violet Control Order and your rights is available from the Department of Primary Industries Biosecurity Legislation Information. Alternatively, please contact:

Invasive Species Team
Phone: (02) 4988 0392
Email: weeds@portstephens.nsw.gov.au