I read, recently, in The Age, “Parks Victoria describes Anglesea heathlands as the richest and most diverse vegetation community in Victoria”. Unfortunately, the threat of weed invasion, particularly, Boneseed, Blue Bell Creeper and Sallow Wattle, emanating from urban Anglesea, places the long term future of this vegetation community in serious jeopardy.
Yet despite the threat of environmental weeds in Australia’s conservation reserves, most invasive plants in Australia are not regulated, and continue to be planted and introduced to new areas.
In Victoria, declared noxious weeds are categorized as follows-:
In 1998, the Australian Government developed a framework to identify twenty weeds which could be considered Weeds of National Significance (WONS) within an Agricultural, Forestry and Environmental context. WONS status brings a weed species under national management for the purpose of restricting its spread, and for eradicating it from parts of Australia. A strategic plan has been prepared for each WONS, which outlines actions required to control the weed, and identifies responsibilities for each action. Four weeds common on the Surf Coast – Blackberry, Boneseed, Bridal Creeper and Gorse – are listed.
In conclusion, most of the environmental weeds that are causing major problems in our conservation reserves along the Surf Coast, and which are destroying our indigenous vegetation, are not regulated as noxious weeds under state legislation. They can still be sold in nurseries, and there are no restrictions on cultivating most of our environmental weeds in private gardens.
I think that all the major invasive weed species should be incorporated into Regional Noxious Weed legislation. This would at least prevent their sale at local nurseries. I think, also, it would be helpful if Local Government had greater responsibilities for regulating the noxious weed laws. Historically the noxious weed legislation has been more focused on the Agricultural sector. I think it urgently needs to give equal focus on regulating noxious weed invasion to our conservation reserves.
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