Expand links In this section

Pest animals and weeds in Australia

Pest animals and weeds not only reduce agricultural productivity, they cause damage to the environment and natural resources.

Everyone plays a role in helping farmers, industry, communities and governments tackle this problem.

Managing pest animals and weeds

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources manages pest animals and weeds in Australia by:

  • providing leadership and coordination
  • investing in pest animal and weed management, where it is in the national interest
  • conducting research and development
  • sharing responsibility for emergency responses to exotic incursions.

We work with the Department of the Environment and Energy, state and territory governments, industry and other stakeholders to protect Australia from pest animals and weeds.

Key initiatives include:

Australian Pest Animal Strategy

Many introduced and native animals have established large populations across Australia, becoming pests. These populations can significantly impact on agricultural productivity and the environment.

The Australian Pest Animal Strategy was developed in 2007 to help combat pest animals and provide national guidance on pest animal management, which is primarily the responsibility of landholders and state and territory governments.

We play a role in coordinating strategic pest animal management, including:

  • representation on the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee
  • support for pest animal management programs in the national interest
  • providing funding for research.

The Australian Pest Animal Strategy is currently being revised for 2017-2027. Public consultation closed on 14 October 2016. Your feedback will help shape the revised strategies, before they are submitted to the National Biosecurity Committee for endorsement prior to publication in early 2017.

Australian Weeds Strategy

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Australia's environment and agricultural production.

The risks associated with weeds include:

  • land degradation
  • displaced native species
  • reduced farm and forest productivity.

Almost all of Australia's native vegetation has been, or could be, affected by weeds. A large percentage of weed species were originally imported for use as garden ornamentals. Improvements to Australia’s biosecurity arrangements have significantly reduced this risk.

The Australian Weeds Strategy was developed in 2007 to help combat weeds and provide national guidance on best practice weed management.

The Australian Weeds Strategy is currently being revised for 2017-2027. Public consultation closed on 14 October 2016. Your feedback will help shape the revised strategies, before they are submitted to the National Biosecurity Committee for endorsement prior to publication in early 2017.

Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure

The Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure is a $50 million investment over four years to 2018-19 to improve the tools, technologies, information and skills farmers and their communities need to tackle pest animals and weeds.

This measure is part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

We are already investing in:

The measure will also:

  • support new or improved pest animal and weed control tools and technologies by providing approximately $10 million available through the Control tools and technologies for established pest animals and weeds competitive grants programme in 2016–17
  • provide landholders and communities useful information about the benefits of management and the costs of inaction, through a national pest animal and weed management survey of farmers and landowners.
  • support national coordination and collaboration.

National Landcare Programme

The department invests in pest animal and weed management through the National Landcare Programme.
This includes:

  • $1.60 million to implement the National Wild Dog Action Plan, to ensure:
    • there is national coordination
    • on-the-ground methodologies are accessible and used to the greatest effect possible
    • doggers are trained and strengthen on-ground work.
  • $1.029 million for the development and testing of a Wild Dog Alert system. This early warning system:
    • has the potential to reduce wild dog attacks
    • will use cutting edge technology to get farmers on the front foot in the fight against wild dogs.
  • $1.238 million to assist in the national rollout of a new naturally occurring overseas strain of rabbit calicivirus called K5. This will boost biological control agents circulating in the environment for rabbit control.