Pest animals and weeds not only reduce agricultural productivity, they also 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
Pest animal management
Many vertebrate animals introduced to Australia have become pests. Pest animals are a significant social, economic and environmental burden for Australia, negatively impacting on Australia’s agriculture, biodiversity, natural and built environments, public health and productivity.
Effective pest animal management involves a combination of preventing their entry to Australia, wherever possible, eradicating those that do enter, when feasible, and managing the negative impacts of those that become established.
Australian Pest Animal Strategy
The Australian Pest Animal Strategy was developed in 2007 to provide national guidance on pest animal management, which is primarily the responsibility of landholders and state and territory governments. It was revised in 2017 and is available below.
|Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017 to 2027 PDF||914 KB|
|Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017 to 2027 DOCX||2.0 MB|
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Australia's environment and primary production resource base, reducing farm and forest productivity, displacing native species and contributing to land degradation. The cost of weeds to agricultural industries is estimated at $4 billion a year. The cost of weeds to the environment is difficult to calculate but could be greater.
Nationally, pest plants continue to invade the land, with exotic species currently accounting for about 15 per cent of flora. Many were originally imported for use as garden ornamentals, although Australia’s current biosecurity arrangements have significantly reduced this risk.
About one-quarter of these species are, or have the potential to be, either serious agricultural andenvironmental weeds. Almost all of Australia's native vegetation has been, or could be, affected by weeds, with the potential to change the structure, species composition, fire frequency and abundance of native ecosystems.
Australian Weeds Strategy
The Australian Weeds Strategy was developed in 2007 to provide national guidance on best practice weed management. It was revised in 2017 and is available below.
|Australian Weeds Strategy 2017-2027 PDF||657 KB|
|Australian Weeds Strategy 2017-2027 DOCX||632 KB|
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The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment supports the management of pest animals and weeds in Australia by:
- providing national leadership and coordination
- investing in pest animal and weed management, where it is in the national interest
- conducting research and development into new and improved control tools and technologies, including biological control
- participating in emergency responses to exotic incursions.
We work with the state and territory governments, industry and the community to protect Australia from pest animals and weeds.
- Established Pest Animals and Weeds Management Pipeline program
- Communities combating pest and weed impacts during drought program (round 2)
- Prickly Acacia Weed Management program
- National Landcare Program
Areas of national leadership and coordination include:
- The National Carp Control Plan
- The National Wild Dog Action Plan
- National Feral Pig Management Coordinator
- ABARES Surveys – Pest animals and weed management survey and Tableau Dashboard
The Australian Government also funds established weed and pest animal research through:
- Rural Research and Development Corporations
- Cooperative Research Centres
- Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
- other research organisations.
Previous investment includes:
- Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper
- Managing pest animals and weeds in drought affected areas (round 1)
Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program
The Australian Government is providing $49.1 million over four years (2021-22 to 2024-25) through the Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program. The program will:
- deliver collaborative on-ground reduction and prevention activities for problematic pests and weeds, this includes $20 million, matched by state and territory governments to maximise impact and deliver a range of activities across the country.
- fund research, development and extension grants to advance a range of breakthrough control solutions to improve pest animal and weed management tools
- drive national coordination to implement a tiered and collective management approach for priority pest animals and weeds, with control and capacity-building activities at local, regional, state and national levels
- provide on-ground support for land managers, including through Indigenous rangers and national resource management groups, for pest animal and weed reduction activities to protect and recover threatened species and ecological communities
- continue to build a greater understanding of the costs and distribution of pest animals and weeds in Australia.
This program recognises the impact of bushfires, flood and drought on pest animal and weed control and prevalence, and will have a strong focus on securing co-investment outcomes with key stakeholders.
The Australian Government is providing $30.3 million through the Established Pest Animals and Weeds Management Pipeline Program (2019-20 to 2022-23). This funding will help combat some of Australia’s worst established pest animals and weeds and reduce their impact on Australian farmers, communities and the environment. The objectives of the program are:
- Objective 1: national prioritisation, information and coordination
- Objective 2: priority pest innovative solutions
- Objective 3: farm ready management techniques, national coordination and delivery
In line with these objectives, $30.3 million has been allocated to various programs to deliver a lasting legacy to farmers, land managers and the wider community in the fight against established pest animals and weeds.
Current initiatives include:
- The advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round. A $13 million competitive grant round to advance a range of breakthrough control solutions that challenge traditional approaches for the control of established pest animals or weeds, by researching and developing new practices, methods and tools, or adapting existing ones for use in new or different ways.
- $1.4 million to implement the National Feral Pig Management Coordinator Program through Australian Pork Limited. The national coordinator will lead the development of a National Feral Pig Management Action Plan and ensure reliable feral pig control methodologies are accessible and adopted by farmers, land managers and the wider community.
- $1 million to both South Australia and Western Australia in 2019-20 for their state wild dog fencing projects.
- The funding to South Australia, together with $9 million from other Commonwealth sources, will deliver on the $10 million election commitment to the South Australia wild dog fence project, from 2019-20 to 2022-23.
- $160,000 to CSIRO to undertake a pilot project to explore the possibility of delineating sub-populations of feral pigs in Australia, using DNA samples from northern and southern Australia.
- Two projects building on work undertaken through the Agricultural Competitiveness White paper – Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure:
- $291,500 to the CSIRO to continue research into a biological control option for fireweed.
- $299,830 to the University of Queensland to undertake research using bioisostere technology, to develop herbicides to target weeds, including WoNS.
Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure
The Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure was a $50 million investment to improve the tools, technologies, information and skills farmers and their communities need to tackle pest animals and weeds.
This measure was part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.
Areas of investment included:
- the acceleration of research and development projects delivering new and improved tools and technologies for controlling established pest animals and weeds
- on-the-ground state and territory government projects that build the skills and capacity of farmers, industry and the community to fight pest animals and weeds
- providing 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
- new or improved pest animal and weed control tools and technologies by providing $10.5 million through the Control tools and technologies for established pest animals and weeds competitive grants programme
- national coordination and collaboration
National Landcare Program
The department invests in pest animal and weed management through the National Landcare Program.
The Department contracts the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, to undertake nationally collaborative research, development and extension to address the ongoing threat from invasive species.
The Centre’s PestSmart Portal provides farmers and land managers with information on current best practice management based on rigorous research to help in making informed decisions.