New plan to fight invasive species

The NSW Government has launched the next generation plan to manage the impact of invasive animals and weeds on the environment, agriculture, infrastructure and human health, with the release of the NSW Invasive Species Plan 2018-2021.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the NSW community faces significant challenges, not only from established invasive species but also from new and emerging pest species.

“Invasive pest animals, including wild dogs, deer, rabbits, feral cats, goats, foxes and carp are estimated to cost the Australian economy more than $1 billion annually and the NSW economy around $170 million annually,” Mr Blair said.

“The new plan outlines mechanisms to help prevent new incursions, contain existing populations and manage widespread invasive species in light of new biosecurity laws introduced by the NSW Government last year.”

More than 1650 introduced plant species have established in NSW and at least 300 of these weeds pose a significant impact on the environment and agriculture – the cost of weeds to NSW agriculture alone has been estimated to be near $1.8 billion per year.

Marine and freshwater environments are also under threat, with more than 250 introduced marine species detected in our coastal waters.

Aquatic pests can cause serious negative impacts on marine environments and animals and can outcompete native species, all posing significant risks to the profitability of Australia’s $2.4 billion-a-year fisheries and aquaculture industries.

Mr Blair said the plan seeks to strengthen coordination of invasive species management.

“Community and stakeholder input has played a major role in developing the new plan, which builds on the success of our first NSW Invasive Species Plan in helping to prevent new pest incursions and reducing existing pest threats,” Mr Blair said.

“Widely supported by the NSW community and our stakeholders, successful implementation of the plan relies on their continued collaboration as government, industry and the community work together to help prevent, prepare and manage invasive plants and animals.”

The plan is supported by the NSW Biosecurity Act 2017, which provides the essential legislative tools and powers to manage pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants.