Weed laws

Weeds of National Significance

Thirty two introduced plants have been identified as Weeds of National Significance (WoNS). A list of 20 WoNS was endorsed in 1999 and a further 12 were added in 2012. The list was based on the following key criteria:

  • invasive tendencies
  • impacts
  • potential for spread
  • socioeconomic and environmental values

WoNS have been selected as they require coordination among all levels of government, organisations and individuals with weed management responsibilities. The development of a strategic plan for each WoNS helps define responsibilities and identify strategies and actions to control the species. Individual landowners and managers are ultimately responsible for managing WoNS. State and territory governments are responsible for overall legislation and administration.

WoNS in the Wet Tropics include lantana, gamba grass, hymenachne, alligatior weed, cabomba, pond apple and salvinia.


Weeds in Queensland

The Biosecurity Act 2014 makes everyone responsible for managing biosecurity risks and threats under their control. This general biosecurity obligation means they must take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant. The Act designates a range of prohibited and restricted biosecurity matter.

Prohibited matter

Prohibited matter can be biosecurity matter like a disease, exotic fish, insect pest, pest animal or a weed that is not found in Queensland. If it was to enter Queensland it would significantly impact our health, way of life, the economy and the environment. Prohibitied matter is listed in Schedule 1 of the Act.

Restricted matter

Restricted matter can be biosecurity matter like a plant and animal disease, noxious fish, insects, pest animal or weeds that are found in Queensland. Restricted matter is considered to have a significant impact on human health, social amenity, the economy and the environment. Specific actions are required to be undertaken that limit the impact of this matter by reducing, controlling or containing it. Restricted matter is listed in Schedule 2 of the Act.

There are seven categories for restricted matter. Each category places restrictions on the dealings with the biosecurity matter or requires actions to be taken to minimise the spread and adverse impact of the biosecurity matter. Categories 1 and 2 have specific urgent reporting requirements.

For more information on the Biosecurity Act 2014, see the biosecurity section of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.


Undesirable plants in the Wet Tropics

The Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 lists undesirable plants and regulates bringing them into the World Heritage Area. See the Wet Tropics Plan weeds page. Councils may also locally declare particular weeds under their pest management plans.

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