In NSW, weeds are regulated by the Biosecurity Act 2015. Biosecurity Officers, working from across the Yass Valley Council area, are authorised to carry out property inspections and implement weed management programs under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.
Object of The Biosecurity Act 2015 (extract)
(1) The primary object of this Act is to provide a framework for the prevention, elimination and minimisation of biosecurity risks posed by biosecurity matter, dealing with biosecurity matter, carriers and potential carriers, and other activities that involve biosecurity matter, carriers or potential carriers.
Why we inspect properties for weeds
Biosecurity is a shared responsibility. Enforcing the Biosecurity Act 2015 protects the Economy, Community and Environment from adverse impacts.
The purpose of property inspections is to monitor weed infestations, to locate new infestations, to provide owners and occupiers of land with information and advice on the control of weeds and to determine whether control work, as required under the Biosecurity Act 2015 has been carried out. Council employs Biosecurity Weeds Officers to assist landholders with the identification and control of weeds. Council's Biosecurity Officers are authorised to enter onto lands within the Council area for the purpose of locating and identifying weeds.
Council has recently set a target of inspecting all rural properties and some urban properties within the Yass Valley Council area. Properties or localities with a history of weed problems will be subject to property inspections more frequently. Property owners will receive notification prior to an inspection. This notification may be verbal or written.
We highly recommend that the owner or occupier is present during inspections where possible, as it gives both parties the opportunity to discuss what control work has been undertaken and what may be required to ensure compliance with the Biosecurity Act 2015. If you are not able to attend an inspection on the dates notified, please contact the Biosecurity Weeds Officer directly to arrange a more suitable time or advise how our officer can access the property in your absence.
Council’s Biosecurity Weeds Officers are authorised under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and may enter any premises (except residential premises) for the purpose of conducting a weeds inspection. Council can authorise the use of force to enter a property if access has been denied, which may result in our officer cutting any chain that impedes access to the property and inserting a Council lock. This process attracts a fee, which will be charged to the owner/occupier of the land. An occupier of land who obstructs an officer whilst attempting to perform his or her duties is guilty of an offence.
Following a property inspection, an Inspection Report is forwarded to the owner/occupier. This report will identify any priority weeds present on the land, the degree of infestation and an estimated area of land covered by the weed. The report will identify what weed control work must be undertaken and the timeframe within which it must be undertaken in order for the landholder to discharge their General Biosecurity Duty.
A subsequent inspection will be scheduled to check compliance with the control requirements (and whether the landholder has effectively discharged their General Biosecurity duty). If, during this inspection it is noted that the control requirements have not been adequately met, Council may take action against the owner or occupier of the land. Failure to discharge a General Biosecurity Duty by the requested date/s will result in a re-inspection fee of $200 being charged and/or the issuing of an Individual Biosecurity Direction.
A re-inspection fee would be issued in accordance with Council’s Scheduled Fees & Charges, this may be done when control works have not been completed by the required date/s.
An Individual Biosecurity Direction is a legal order issued with a compliance date and control requirements, non compliance with an Individual Biosecurity Direction may result in Council completing control works on the property at the landholders expense and/or a $1000 Penalty Infringement Notice.
Failure to comply with this Direction is considered an offence and may result in council instituting legal procedures. Under these circumstances, Council will charge additional fees for determining whether the Biosecurity direction has been complied with, and in taking action if it has not. Under some circumstances a penalty notice may be issued. This may be done separately to, or in conjunction with, some of the above procedures.