Noxious Weeds Policy
The noxious weeds policy of the Council is to undertake the provisions of the Noxious Weeds Act, 1993 and set various goals and objectives to achieve this. Council staff have been conducting control work within a large area under direct Council responsibility, with the aim of reducing weed and seed numbers as much as possible. There are ongoing programs in place to maintain the pressure on noxious weeds over a number of years in an attempt to deplete the seed bank already present in the soil.
Currently the weeds causing the biggest problems within the Balranald Shire are, Spiny Burgrass, Onion Weed, African Boxthorn and Bathurst Burr.
Obligations of Landholders and Council
Private landholders are required to control noxious weeds on the land they occupy according to the control category specified for that weed.
Council is required to control weeds on council land, according to the appropriate control category. Council is also required to ensure private occupiers are attending to their weeds and from time to time, the Noxious Weeds Inspector will visit landholders to ascertain the extent of the weed infestation, the plans for control, and if required, assist to formulate a control strategy. If the Weeds Inspector intends to call on you, he will first contact you to arrange a convenient time for you to accompany him to discuss weed infestation problems on his inspection. However, if this is not practical, the Weeds Inspector can conduct the inspection alone and present a report to you at a later date.
If noxious weeds are present, the occupier and the Inspector will determine a suitable time frame to allow control work to be undertaken, after which time the Inspector will re-visit. This will be written into an inspection report, and a copy handed to the occupier. If control work has not been carried out within the agreed time, the Inspector ma undertake certain actions, including issuing an on the spot fine, or a notice under the appropriate section of the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, which further allows for severe fines.
Noxious Weeds Overview
Balranald Shire is a large area with a varied and diverse collection of noxious and nuisance weeds. By far the most widespread noxious weed in the Shire is Onion Weed (Asphodelus fistulosis), which is found in large or small patches commonly in the west, from the Kyalite, Balranald, Ivanhoe Road, with a reducing occurrence to the east of that road. Onion weed is an invasive plant of little or no agricultural value, which tends to thrive in overgrazed ground that offers few competition species. Although there are chemical and mechanical means of control, the fact that the worst infestations are in low value land, and control is economically unviable.
Another weed invading the Region is African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum), but this is more predominant in the eastern half of the shire with little occurrence in the west. This is a strong, woody bush which can easily grow some 3 metres high and across, but more commonly is 1 to 2 metres. The bush carries hundreds of strong spikes on its branches which along with its woody rigidity can stop animals and people from passing through the hedges and thickets created by them. Apart from the productive ground lost to these bushes, the thickets can cause stock control problems by stopping animals from reaching water and isolated grazing patches, or stockmen from removing them once they do pass through.
The weed considered to be the highest priority at present in the Shire is Spiny Burrgrass (Cenchrus incertus/longispinus), also known as Gentle Annie. It is not as nearly widespread as Onion weed, occurring mostly on the red sand of the southern part of the area, around Kyalite and Euston. However due to it’s ability to stick to things and travel great distances, its proximity to roadsides in some cases, plus its potential to harm animals and people. As well as causing reduction in productivity and saleability of primary produce, it has to be treated seriously. Concerted efforts by Council’s Noxious Weeds Inspector, in partnership with landowners, have greatly reduced the population and infestation area of this insidious weed.
Other common weeds are Bathurst Burr (Xanthium spinosum), found just about anywhere, Noogoora Burr (Xanthium occidentale), which requires more moisture and there tends to occur on the edges of rivers, streams, channels, drains and in irrigation areas. Khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens), is more common to town areas, parks, roadsides and around stock yards, sheds and outbuildings but not so bad generally in paddocks.
Landholders are asked to be particularly vigilant to detect Alligator_weed and Parthenium_weed, which although not yet detected within Balranald Shire, have strong potential to spread here and invade vast areas of farming land.
Noxious weeds List
Noxious weeds are those thought to be a threat to agriculture and the environment. Council requests the NSW Minister of Agriculture to declare certain weeds they feel fit this category. The request is considered under advice then supported or rejected.
The current noxious weeds list appears in the downloadable document below, along with an explanation of what action must be taken depending on the category associated with the weed. Overtime this list will change as the declaration of each weed is reviewed regularly to maintain a relevant list.
Balranald Shire Council is an original member of the Western Riverina Noxious Weeds Advisory Group (W.R.N.W.A.G.), made up of representatives from Councils, Weeds County Councils, Rural Lands Protection Boards, National Parks, State Rail Authority and other affected bodies around the Riverina Region. The group was set up to discuss and overcome weed problems in the Riverina, and present regionally planned initiatives in noxious weed control.
W.R.N.W.A.G. along with the Eastern Riverina Noxious Weeds Advisory Group (E.R.N.W.A.G.), covers a large part of the state, from Tumut and West Wyalong to the South Australian border, and so allows for an integrated approach with input from all affected bodies. A Regional Weeds Coordinator, Ms Paula Ash has been employed between the two groups. The area covered by these two groups is under the watchful eye of a Department_of_Primary_Industries Noxious Weeds Advisory Officer, Ms Brigitte Uerbeck.
A couple of years ago, Paula and Brigitte were asked to assist the Lower Murray Darling Catchment Management Authority (L.M.D.C.M.A.), in developing a Regional_Weeds_Strategy, to be used as a guide in assessing the priority of weeds within the Catchment. This includes the western part of Balranald Shire, along with Wentworth Shire, part of Central darling Shire and the unincorporated area.
That strategy forms the basis of Balranald’s Noxious Weeds Management Plan, and outlines actions our Council should take to fulfil its noxious weeds obligations within the catchment.
Download Pesticide Use Notification Plan (.pdf 2.2mb)
Click here to see a list of Balranald's noxious weeds list from DPI
If you require assistance or any further information, please phone Balranald’s Noxious Weeds Inspector, Emma Serevi on 0427 501034, or Council’s office on (03) 50201300.
0427 501034 (ph)