Many invasive plants can pose a serious threat to biodiversity – the plants have a significant impact on native flora and fauna populations. They also contribute to land and water degradation and losses in productivity.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, certain plants are declared as noxious weeds in Victoria. This allows actions to be taken to control them.
The impact of weeds on the environment is recognised through several listings under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988:
- Introduction and spread of Spartina to Victorian estuarine environments
- Invasion of native vegetation by ‘environmental weeds’
- Invasion of native vegetation communities by Tall Wheat-grass Lophopyrum ponticum
Weed of national Significance (WoNS)
There are 32 Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) agreed by Australian governments based on a weed’s:
- Potential to spread
- Environmental, social and economic impacts
- Ability to be successfully managed.
A list of 20 WoNS was endorsed in 1999 and a further 12 added in 2012.
Landowners and land managers at all levels are responsible for managing WoNS. State and territory governments are responsible for the legislation, regulation and administration of weeds.
WoNS were selected as they require coordination among all levels of government, organisations and individuals with weed management responsibilities.
A strategic plan for each WoNS was developed to define responsibilities and identify strategies and actions to control the weed species. Coordination of these plans at a national level improves the connection between research and on-going control, and encourages commitment from a wide range of stakeholders.