Invasive species: new legislation in prospect

FOBIF has made a short submission to the Department of Primary Industries as part of the consultation process for the preparation of a new Invasive Species Management Bill.

Dumped garden rubbish in the Diggings Park near Chewton: oxalis, capeweed and thistles are spreading from the dump. When Parks Victoria officers clean up such dumps, they have to pay tip fees to dispose of the rubbish.

The submission is in response to a discussion paper released by DPI. The paper proposed that the new bill require people to take every reasonable care to prevent the spread of invasive species. We urged that this provision be strengthened, given that many weeds are spread through carelessness–either on construction machinery or dumping of garden refuse. Recent examples of the former in our area include spread of Stinkwort and Needle grass on Shire machinery; and the dumping of garden rubbish is a constant headache for public land managers, who have to clean it up and then pay the Shire for tipping fees!

FOBIF’s brief submission is printed below:

‘We support any measures which will more effectively control invasive species in Victoria. We would like to make the following brief comments on the Discussion Paper:


  • Under ‘Key obligations’ [Table 3] we believe there should be the obligation to take every reasonable care to prevent inadvertent spread of invasive species. We make this suggestion because a key factor in the spread of these species is often machinery which could and should have been cleaned. A recent example of this in our area is the spread of Stinkwort along roadsides and on building development sites by municipal workers. This should be a general obligation, not simply a Category 2 obligation.
  • We support a system where pest plants and animals are clearly designated so that land managers and those influencing land health [like horticulturalists, gardeners and the garden industry] are clearly aware of their obligations.
  • Although the discussion paper clearly covers all land tenures, we believe it is vague as to the responsibility of public land managers. This is a difficult area, in which the government must propose legislation to regulate itself: but we believe that the scandalous underfunding of public land management is a factor in the spread of pest plants and animals, to the detriment of both the public and private land estates. In this sense the appendix comment on accountability is vital:

“Accountability: The Government must explain its decisions on regulation and be subject to public scrutiny. The same is true of its enforcement agencies. As such, the development and enforcement of regulation in Victoria should be monitored, with the results being reported to the public on a systematic basis.”

‘A provision to this effect should be incorporated into the legislation.’

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