Frequently asked questions
- Eradicate State Prohibited weeds from all land in the State.
- Control restricted pest animals (vermin) on any land in the State; and
- Eradicate regionally prohibited weeds on roadsides on Crown land.
- Eradicate regionally prohibited weeds
- Prevent the growth and spread of regionally controlled weeds
- Prevent the spread of, and as far as possible eradicate established pest animals.
- Dedicated weed control information page on the Mitchell Shire Council website
- Distribution of new rural land holder ‘kits’ which contain weed identification and control information
- Publication and distribution of the ‘Central Victorian Weeds Guide’ brochure
- Attendance at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo to provide ‘in person’ advice
- Providing a response to individual landholder requests about weed identification and control
- Collaborating with and supporting community action on weeds through groups such as Landcare and other government departments and agencies.
- OHS and poisons management aspects
- Heritage and aboriginal cultural overlays
- Links with biodiversity and the environmental impacts of pest species
- Potential impacts to other industries and other species as control measures are implemented.
Why are we consulting the community and stakeholders for a second time?
In July 2021, Mitchell Shire Council’s Draft Community and Environment Local Law 2022, was released for community consultation, with a number of the proposed changes resulting in extensive feedback and debate across stakeholders and the community.
As a result of the large amount of feedback received, and the suggestions put forward, Council, at its November 2021 meeting, resolved to further consult the community in relation to the expansion of the proposed Local Law to include farming zoned land, and has been asked to comprehensively review the legal and budgetary impacts of resourcing and enforcing this section of the Local Law.
What state legislation outlines the control requirements for noxious weeds and vermin?
The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 is the primary legislation for the control of noxious weeds and pest animals in Victoria.
Who is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the Catchment and Land Protection Act?
Agriculture Victoria (a part of the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR)) is the regulating authority for enforcing landowner obligations under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
Information regarding the Act can be found on the Agriculture Victoria website, which has a number of dedicated pages relating specifically to Biosecurity, including weed control.
What are the responsibilities of the Victorian Government under the Act?
The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 specifies that the responsibilities of the Secretary of DJPR are to take all reasonable steps to:
The State Government is also responsible for enforcing the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 as it applies to private landowners.
The Secretary delegates responsibilities to Authorised Officers employed by the DJPR to issue enforcement notices as a result of a landowner’s failure to meet their obligations under the Act.
This means that landowners who fail to control noxious weeds or established pests on their land can be issued with directions or land management notices. Failure to comply with these notices can result in fines or court action.
What are the Responsibilities of Local Government under the Act?
Local governments have responsibilities to manage noxious weeds and established pest animals and protect land and water resources on land that they manage – no different to any other landowner.
In 2013, the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 was amended to clarify that municipal Councils are responsible for controlling declared noxious weeds on roadsides if the land is a municipal road.
These amendments also introduced the opportunity for the Minister for Agriculture to require municipal councils to prepare a roadside weed and pest animal management plan. (Section 22 of the Act)
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, a weed and pest animal management plan must set out a program of measures to eradicate as far as possible, all regionally prohibited weeds from the roadsides of municipal roads, and to reduce the adverse impacts on surrounding land of regionally controlled weeds and pest animals, whilst protecting the infrastructure and environmental value of roadsides.
What are the responsibilities of ALL Landowners outlined in the Act?
Section 20 of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 states that ALL landowners (including private landowners, corporations, committees that manage Crown land, and Local Councils) must take all reasonable steps to:
The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 also states that a person must not (without a permit from the Secretary) transport within Victoria a noxious weed or any part of a noxious weed capable of growing.
What does Mitchell Shire Council currently do in relation to noxious weeds and vermin?
Community Education & Extension Works
Council’s Environment and Sustainability department currently undertakes a variety of environmental education activities providing information on weed identification and control including:
Management of noxious weeds on Council managed land, including reserves and roadsides.
Mitchell Shire Council implements an annual roadside weed control program. In the 2020/2021 year this covered 509km of rural roadsides.
Council also undertakes weed control activities in its environmentally significant reserves and recreational reserves.
What is the cost for weed and vermin control? And who pays for this?
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act, every landowner is responsible for controlling pest plants and animals on their own land, including Government/Crown owned lands and Council owned lands.
This means that the landowner is the one who is responsible for the costs associated with control and/or eradication programs.
At times, there may be grants through state government agencies available to landholders and Councils to undertake targeted weed control programs.
What weed and pest control methods are available to Landowners?
There is quite detailed information about how noxious weeds are to be controlled, with the ‘prescribed treatment methods’ and timing of these treatments aimed at reducing the spread of or eradicating the plants clearly outlined on the Agriculture Victoria website.
Some of these treatments – such as the use of registered herbicides – are restricted, and consideration must also be made of the impacts of control measures on native species, cultural or heritage areas, local agriculture, and the potential to contribute to other environmental problems such as soil erosion.
Are there other considerations that need to be made before embarking on a control program, or employing one of the ‘prescribed methods’?
There is an excellent Victorian parliament submission that explains the very complex and intertwined nature of pest plant and animal control and management, including the overlay of many smaller pieces of legislation that may impact what can and cannot be done in certain areas.
This document outlines the complex nature of pest species control including:
To read the submission, please Click Here.
What is council doing about all of the weeds along the railway lines within Mitchell Shire?
Council is not responsible for the control of weeds along railway lines, however Council officers advocate to both Agriculture Victoria (as the enforcement agency) and the respective land managers to control weeds on these linear reserves.
Who is responsible for controlling the weeds along the creeks and waterways within Mitchell Shire?
Many waterways in Mitchell Shire are crown land with a variety of land management responsibilities including the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning and Council.
Some waterway frontages have grazing licences, and some are privately owned.
Council has a program of weed control on waterways that are under Council management and again advocates to land managers to control weeds on waterways under their control.
There may also be assistance available through Catchment Management Authorities and Melbourne Water for these activities.
Why is it important to control noxious weeds and vermin?
Noxious weeds and vermin animals cause widespread damage to our natural environment – they can destroy habitat, compete for resources, reduce farm productivity, and can harm livestock.
People who work and live in Mitchell Shire place a high value on protecting the natural environment, and much of the local economy is related to farming and tourism (visiting regional parks, native bushland, and waterways).
These priorities are clearly identified in the Mitchell Shire Community Vision 2050 – with themes relating to Nature and Parks, Climate Change and Economic strength featuring prominently.