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Yass Valley Council issues fines for serrated tussock

Yass Valley Council Biosecurity Weeds Officers have recently issued several biosecurity directions and $1,000 penalty infringement notices (fines) to local landholders who are continually failing to manage significant serrated tussock infestations on their properties.

Senior Biosecurity Weeds Officer, Brett Lees, is reminding Yass Valley landholders they have a legal general biosecurity duty to ensure that as far as reasonably practicable, the biosecurity risk posed by invasive weeds on their land is prevented, eliminated or minimised.

“Serrated tussock is a serious weed of pastures that has a significant impact on carrying capacity, as well as dominating native grassland environments,” Mr Lees said.

“Its presence greatly reduces land value, and because serrated tussock is not palatable to stock due it is high fibre and low protein content, animals grazing on serrated tussock become malnourished and lose condition. In native bush and grasslands, it quickly dominates the vegetation, decimating the local biodiversity.”

Yass Valley Council Biosecurity Weeds Officers had been working cooperatively and proactively with a number of landholders for several months on ways to minimise the effect of invasive weeds on their property and reduce the risk to neighbouring properties.

“When no action was taken, we had no choice but to issue the biosecurity directions requiring control of the invasive weeds within 30 days,” Mr Lees said. “Failing to comply with the legal direction really forced our hands and $1,000 penalty infringement notices were issued to the non-compliant landholders, along with an additional direction requiring the weeds to be controlled.”

Mr Lees encourages any landholder who is concerned about serrated tussock on their land to contact Yass Valley Council Biosecurity Weeds Officers, Local Land Services or their local agronomist.

“The best time to treat serrated tussock is when the plants are young and not fully established. An established infestation of mature serrated tussock plants is very difficult, lengthy and expensive to manage,” Mr Lees said.

Last financial year, Yass Valley Council implemented a weeds control program targeting invasive grass weeds, including serrated tussock and woody weeds on Council land and roadsides. This weed control program will be continued in the current financial year.

9 August 2021

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