Biosecurity weeds management

A weed is a plant that is growing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Some weeds are controlled by the Biosecurity Act 2015 due to their detrimental impact on human health, agriculture and our environment. 

Weed management is an essential activity which safeguards our economy, environment and community. We manage weeds in accordance with the NSW Biosecurity framework and associated tools.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 everyone has a legal obligation to manage identified priority weeds on land that they own or occupy.

What does Council do about weeds?

Government, industry and the people of NSW are working together to protect the economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of animal and plant pests and diseases, weeds and contaminants for the benefit of all people in NSW.

Council's role is to work with landowners and occupiers to help them meet their general biosecurity duty according to the Act. This includes:

  • Weed identification.
  • providing advice and information on ways to manage weeds.
  • providing displays at community events about weeds
  • Weed control on Council land and vacant Crown Land.
  • Providing an ongoing program of rural and urban inspections to check for priority weeds and weeds of concern in the area.

Weeds officer

Pic: Cessnock City Council Weeds Officer

The Cessnock Pesticide Use Notification Plan(PDF, 1MB) sets out how we notify the community of pesticide applications conducted by Council. The treatment of weeds follows an annual treatment program.(PDF, 20KB) 

More information


The information on this page provides a brief summary of management arrangements for weed biosecurity risks in NSW.

More detailed information is available in the Biosecurity Act 2015, Biosecurity Regulation 2017, Biosecurity Order (Permitted Activities) 2019 and other documents on the DPI website.

General biosecurity duty

Any land managers and users of land have a responsibility for managing weed biosecurity risks that they know about or could reasonably be expected to know about. This responsibility applies to all land within NSW and all waters within the limits of the State.

Your local strategic weed management plan will provide guidance on the outcomes expected to discharge your duty for the weeds in your area.

Control Orders

Property owners have a duty to notify the DPI of the presence or suspected presence of certain invasive species. There are movement controls and destruction requirements for some species. If you are unsure of a weed growing on your property:

1) Visit the National Herbarium of New South Wales to see if the plant is present within NSW, at  

2) If the species is considered absent from NSW, you need to NOTIFY the Invasive Plants and Animals Enquiry Hotline on 1800 680 244 or by email to  

Mandatory measures

There are mandatory measures in place to prevent, control or eliminate the risk of invasion. These mean:

  • A person cannot import into the State, or sell, any plant listed in Schedule 3 of the Biosecurity Regulation
  • A person cannot import into the State, a species of vascular plant if that species is not present in the State, unless 20 days prior notification has been provided to NSW DPI of the plant and its proposed location.
  • For example a person cannot import into the State from Queensland, certain machinery or equipment unless certain conditions are met to remove the risk of Parthenium Weed.

Biosecurity zones

Three zones have been established to manage high priority weeds. A person must notify their local control authority within one working day of the presence or suspected presence of a new infestation of the weed within the zone; and take action to eradicate those weeds, or destroy as much as practicable and suppress its spread.

Alligator Weed Zone has been established for all land within the State with exception of the Greater Sydney, and parts of Hunter Local Land Services regions.

Bitou Bush Zone has been established for all land within the State except land within 10 kilometres of the coast line between Cape Bryon and Point Perpendicular..

Water Hyacinth Zone has been established for all land within the State with exception of the Greater Sydney, North Coast and parts of North West, Hunter and South East Local Land Services regions.

Prohibited matters

There are certain prohibited matters designed to prevent the entry of invasive species to NSW. These matters are listed in Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. Key prohibited matters include:

  • It is an offence to deal with or possess prohibited matter
  • Parthenium Weed, Hawkweed and Mexican Feather Grass are prohibited
  • There is a duty to notify the presence or suspected presence of these weeds
  • There is a duty not to test or attempt to test unless certain conditions are met
  • Authorised officer may accept a biosecurity undertaking from an owner or issue a biosecurity direction to manage a weed

Please see the Biosecurity Act 2015 to find out more.

How to identify weeds

If you think you have spotted a weed but can't identify it, the NSW Weedwise app can help you.

This application provides key information to help you reduce the impact of weeds in New South Wales.

The app profiles over 300 weeds, describing their legal requirements under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and Regulations 2017, control information and registered herbicide options.

For Apple devices, click here

For Android devices, click here.

Report a weed infestation

Have you spotted a weed infestation that concerns you?

Fill out the form below to let Council know.

Report a weed infestation form