A recent report to the Upper Macquarie County Council showed that its Weed Biosecurity Officers have undertaken more than 1,600 inspections of properties covering well over 125,000 hectares of land across Bathurst, Blayney, Lithgow and Oberon council areas in the last year. The inspections identified that only 464 of those properties had serious weed infestations, and weed control notices were issued accordingly.

County Chairman Cr Ian North, referring to the report, said that “…. it has very been pleasing to see so many landholders making a real effort to control invasive weeds on their land – particularly given the very challenging local conditions over the last year or more – with drought then fire, and now the Covid-19 pandemic.” “…. It has also been great to see the public landholders doing a lot more work on weed control recently.”….“The County Council treats all landowners the same – private or public – and over the last year or so we have developed some very firm but cooperative working relationships with big public landholders including Forestry Corporation, Transport for NSW (railways), and Crown”.

The report to Council also revealed that 15 landholders in recent times had been issued $1,000 on-the-spot fines. Of the 488 properties subject to weed control notices, that have been re-inspected to date, 321 of having been brought under control, 91 have work underway, and the remaining 76 have been given enforceable biosecurity directions – just one step short of a fine. “Despite the good work by so many landholders, it is also unfortunate in these circumstances that we have had to issue fines to those that do not comply…however, it is a necessary step in the process for dealing with the minority of people who just do not care or won’t make an effort” added Cr North.

Councillor North also highlighted that the County Council had also been working closely with the local councils delivering a roadside weed spraying program involving 94 roads extending for nearly 1,000 kms; and had supported private landholders coordinating an aerial weed treatment program covering over 1,200 ha of private land.

The County Council’s Weeds Biosecurity Officers are out and about and are happy to answer questions and provide information to landholders with their weeds. Councillor North says “in future we hope to see more weeds controlled and less fines issued.”

Note: Upper Macquarie County Council is the local weed control authority for Bathurst, Blayney, Lithgow and Oberon council areas.