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Our responsibilities

What we do

Rous County Council (RCC) works with a wide range of stakeholders to combat the spread of targeted weeds in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. The council is the local control authority responsible for administering the Biosecurity Act 2015 for weeds in the region. RCC provides a cost-effective and consistent mechanism for control and management of targeted weeds within the county. The operational footprint includes all of Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Lismore City, Richmond Valley and Kyogle shires. It covers about 10,290 square kilometres, adjoining the Queensland border to the north, Tenterfield Shire to the west and the Clarence Valley local government area to the south.

Council’s approach to weed management has strong links with the NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-2021, NSW Invasive Species Plan and the NSW Weeds Action Program.

Council's weed management platform is based on the achievement of the four goals outlined below:

  1. Prevent the establishment of new weed species in our region – Exclude.
  2. Eliminate or prevent the spread of new weed species in our region – Eradicate or contain.
  3. Reduce the impacts of widespread invasive weed species – Effectively manage.
  4. Ensure community, industry and government stakeholders have the ability and long-term commitment to manage invasive weed species – Build capacity.

Our approach to weed management reflects the following key themes:

  • Identification and management of high risk weed species and the pathways they use to spread into and within our region.
  • Formulation of new weed detection systems to improve our capacity to find new weeds early (prohibited matter).
  • Ensuring we have the resources and procedures in place to undertake rapid strategic control measures against new weed incursions.
  • Continual analysis of our weed management programs to ensure we are directing resources to where benefits will be the greatest.
  • Increasing the community commitment and involvement in proactive weed management approaches.

Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting framework provides for the coordinated and cooperative management of targeted weeds across our county.

Principal activities and services of Council are outlined below.

Regulatory

  • Inspection of land within the county to ensure, so far as practicable, that owners and occupiers of land carry out their legislative weed control obligations.
  • Undertaking compliance action to ensure landowners and managers meet their legislative weed control obligations.

 Weed management on public lands

  • Development of weed management plans, which encompasses 12,438 kilometres of roadsides across the county.
  • Mapping the density and distribution of targeted weeds on roadsides.
  • Carrying out control works against targeted weeds on the public road network throughout the county area.

Strategic control of high priority, high risk weed species

  • Mapping of all targeted weeds on private and public lands.
  • Implementing inspections on private and State lands for targeted weed species.
  • Development and implementation of collaborative control activities for high priority weed species in partnership with land owners and managers.
  • Identification of species exhibiting weedy potential and implementing strategies for their timely control and future management.
  • Review and prioritisation of weed-management programs to ensure resources are directed to where benefits will be the greatest.

Education, extension and community engagement

  • Developing programs that aim to increase the communities’ acceptance of and willingness to be involved in effective weed-management programs.
  • Provision of advice on best practice control methods, weed seed spread prevention and other relevant management topics.
  • Provision of technical support and literature to land owners, community and industry groups.
  • Attendance at shows and field days across the region to enhance weed management awareness.

Our responsibilities

The council of a local government area is the local control authority for land within that local government area unless the weed control functions for that area have been conferred on a county council under any other Act. If the weed control functions for an area have been conferred on a county council, the county council is the local control authority for that area.

As a local control authority, under the Biosecurity Act 2015, RCC has the following weed control functions in relation to the Far North Coast.

  • the prevention, elimination, minimisation and management of the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed by weeds,
  • to develop, implement, co-ordinate and review weed control programs,
  • to inspect land in connection with its weed control functions,
  • to keep records about the exercise of the local control authority’s functions under this Act,
  • to report to the Secretary about the exercise of the local control authority’s functions under this Act.

Services

Further to our responsibilities noted above, RCC offers a range of services to land holders. These include:

  • Advice: Council staff provide best practice management information to the public covering all facets of targeted weed control. This may be done during property inspections, by phone, fax, email, or at field days and other activities involving Council staff.
  • Weed identification: Weed samples can be dropped into the RCC office, at 218-232 Molesworth Street, Lismore, for positive identification. If RCC cannot positively identify the sample it will be sent to the herbarium for identification.
  • Weed information: Council has a large array of weed information in the form of posters, brochures and best practice manuals available to the public.
  • Education, extension and community engagement: Council delivers education, extension and community engagement through regular field days, information stalls, weed identification and information workshops, weed expos, school talks, advertising, media stories, a website and more.