Preventing the spread of significant weeds

Preventing the spread of weeds is difficult, as many weeds have physical characteristics that allow their seeds and other reproductive parts to be easily transported over long distances.

Weed seeds 'fly' on the wind, ride river currents, hitch a lift on shoes, clothing, vehicles and machinery, and attach themselves to pet fur, livestock and wildlife. Seeds and plant parts can also hide in soil, water, mulch, animal feed and herbivore faeces.

Whenever people or animals move through weed-infested areas, there is a chance that weeds will be spread to new areas. Weeds have the potential to adversely alter ecosystem function, reduce primary industry productivity and profitability, and seriously limit the long-term sustainability of all the state's agricultural and natural resources.

Highly invasive weeds threaten grazing lands, waterways, national parks and urban environments. In Australia, the cost of weeds on agriculture has been estimated at $4 billion a year (excluding the impacts on the environment and community).

More than 90 species of weeds have been recognised as prohibited or restricted invasive plants in Queensland under the Biosecurity Act 2014. Unless we take action now, the number of new weeds will continue to climb, adversely affecting our economy, environment and health, and our enjoyment of the outdoors.

One of the most cost-effective ways to control weeds is to stop them spreading and eradicate new infestations.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to prevent or minimise the risks of spreading weeds. To meet your GBO consider the following information:

  • Identify the major weeds in your area. Your local government, Bushcare or Landcare group may provide you with more information.
  • Dont pick flowers or plants that you can't identify - they may be weeds.
  • Before buying anything that may be contaminated with weed seed ask the vendor if it could contain weed seeds. This will help inform your choice, as weeds can be transported as contaminants in soil, grain, hay, and mulch, and by livestock.
  • Stick to designated roads and tracks and avoid weed-infested areas.
  • Clean your equipment, boots, vehicles and machinery when leaving known weed-infested areas.
  • Clean-down off-road vehicles by blowing, vacuuming or washing dirt and seeds.
  • Check boats, propellers and trailers before entering or leaving waterways and remove any plant material.
  • Contact landowners before entering their properties and check what their requirements are for preventing the spread of weeds.
  • Don´t dump weeds and garden waste in bush or parkland. Dispose of waste appropriately by transporting it safely to a waste disposal facility or burn it, bury it or add it to onsite mulching.
  • Never buy waterweeds or keep them in your ponds and aquariums.
  • Never dump aquarium plants, water or contents down drains or into waterways.
  • Check Australian Government import restrictions before ordering plant material from overseas, including bulbs and seeds purchased over the internet or by mail order.
  • Wash your car on the lawn to prevent detergent entering waterways via stormwater drains, as nutrient-enriched water and soil promote weed growth.
  • Review suggested weed control measures to manage and limit infestations before they spread and become a major problem.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about how to control and manage the spread of weeds within Queensland, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.

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