In its role as a Local Control Authority under the Biosecurity Act 2015 Council is proactively trialling methods of weed control that don’t involve the use of chemical herbicides. An example of this is the release of biological control agents such as the Crofton Weed Rust Fungus (see below).
What is a Biological Control Agent?
Biological control is an environmental means of controlling weeds by introducing the plants naturally occurring enemy such as predators, parasitoids and pathogens. It is one of several components utilised in integrated pest management.
Where does the Crofton Rust Fungus come from?
The Crofton weed rust fungus Baeodromus eupatorii originates from Mexico, the native range of the weed.
How does the rust fungus control Crofton weed?
The rust fungus infects young leaves and stems of Crofton Weed (Ageratina adenophora). It has great potential to reduce competitiveness, reproduction and spread of the weed. It obtains vital nutrients and water from the host plant by establishing an intimate contact with living cells.
Through this continuous absorption or diversion of assimilates (nutrients) from the host plant, the fungus becomes detrimental to plant development and reproduction. The fungus also destroys leaf tissue by producing fruiting bodies thus reducing the photosynthetic surface of the plant.
The rust fungus compliments two other Crofton Weed biological control agents introduced in the 1950s;
- Procecidochares utilis a fly which causes galls on plant stems
- Passalora ageratinae a leaf spot fungus that causes necrotic lesions on old leaves.
Is this rust fungus safe?
The rust fungus was thoroughly tested before approval was obtained in May 2014 to release it in the Australian environment. Results from host-specificity tests demonstrated that the rust fungus does not pose a threat to economic and native plant species.
Declared weeds in the Strathfield area
For a list of declared noxious weeds in the Local Control Authority area of Strathfield Municipal Council, click here.
What is Council's role in weed control?
As a Local Control Authority, Strathfield Council is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of legislative compliance relating to the Biosecurity Act 2015.
To fulfil this obligation, Council employs a “Noxious Weeds Officer”. The Noxious Weeds Officer is an authorised person as defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015. Generally the Noxious Weeds Officer is responsible for the day to day management of weeds within the LGA. Roles include:
- Being the initial point of contact
- Assisting in the positive identification of noxious weeds
- Providing public education extension services information, direction and regulation of users and there activities
- Compliance enforcement and legislative regulation
- Maintaining weed management records and data
- Implementing the SCNWMP and representation at regional weed committee level
- Overall protection of ecosystem biodiversity and environmentally significant areas
Council’s Noxious Weeds Officer can be contacted on 9748 9999.
Strathfield Council spends a significant amount of time to develop plans and policies in relation to the management of noxious weeds.
The Strathfield Council Noxious Weed Management Plan 2015 – 2019 primary purpose is the unity all stakeholders to promote sustainability by minimising the economic, environmental and social impact of invasive plant species within the Strathfield area.
For a copy of the management plan, click here.
The primary legislation governing weed management in NSW is the Biosecurity Act 2015 and associated Regulation. It identifies the framework under which plants are declared, establishes stakeholder obligations, outlines offences, provides legislative enforcement for control authorities and establishes pest management functions of government agencies.
The fundamental legislative obligation is that "Private occupiers of land must control noxious weeds on land" as stipulated in Section 12 of the Act:
Relevant legislation and planning process
- Biological Controls Act 1985
- Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Local Governments Act 1993
- Noxious Weeds Act 1993
- Pesticides Act 1999
- Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
- Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
- Work Health & Safety Act 2011
- Sydney Regional weed management plans
- Cooks Alliance catchment management strategies
- NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013 – 2021
- NSW Biosecurity Act 2015
Strathfield Council is a member of the Sydney Weeds Committee and Cooks River Alliance.