Landowners are expected to reasonably know about the priority weeds that may occur on their land and have a management plan in place to prevent, eliminate or minimise them, under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
Where any owner or occupier fails in their biosecurity duty to control weeds on their land, Council may issue a biosecurity direction that prohibits, regulates, or controls the carrying out of an activity in connection with weeds, carrier or potential carrier identified above. It is mandatory to comply with this biosecurity direction. Failure to comply with the conditions of a biosecurity direction could result in a penalty notice or prosecution.
Council may undertake property inspections after the owner or occupier of the land has been notified of the intention to do so. Inspections may be arranged verbally or in writing. It is preferred that the owner or occupier accompanies the inspector where possible. This creates opportunities for open discussion and questions that may need to be answered directly. Following the inspection, the landholder is sent a report stating what, if any weeds are found on the property. A reinspection will occur if the inspector is not convinced that an effective management plan is underway or will be implemented.
Before buying a property
The purchase of rural land is a major decision and the presence of weeds and the continuing cost of managing weed infestations, is often either not considered or forgotten. Before signing a contract, prospective purchasers should carefully consider:
- Are there biosecurity risks (weed infestations) on the land?
- Are weed infestations being managed?
- What are the costs of the continual weed control?
- If the land is to be used for farming, will weed infestations lead to production losses?
Privacy laws prevent Council from disclosing weed infestation information to prospective buyers without the owner's consent, however by asking these questions, purchasers can be more informed. Before purchasing a property arrange for someone who knows about weeds to inspect the property with you. If weeds are found, a weed spraying contractor can provide an estimate of how much control work will cost. The small cost of an independent inspection will assist you in making an informed decision regarding the land in question.