Managing pests in NSW : Q&A

Everyone in NSW who deals with pest animals, including land managers, recreational land users, other community members and even visitors to the state must manage those pest animals where they present a risk to biosecurity in NSW.

State, regional and local management plans have assessed risks and can be used by landholders to understand what pests they must manage on their land.

Some pest animals must be managed specifically, as outlined under the Biosecurity Regulation 2017. For example, under the Biosecurity Regulation, it is illegal for a person to keep, move or release a feral pig, wild rabbit, wild deer or European red fox.

Depending on where in the state you live, some pest animals are more prevalent and problematic than others.

A number of documents are available to help land managers and other community members to understand which pest animals they must to manage and how. Central to these is the Regional Strategic Pest Management Plans. A full list is provided in the answer to question 3 (below).

Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans are plans developed by Regional committees in consultation with local stakeholders. These plans:

  • identify the priority pest species in each region that must be controlled by land managers
  • outline management outcomes for each priority pest
  • outline local management approaches and provide local guidance on how people should contribute to managing pests.

There are a series of documents that help land managers and other community members to understand which pest animals they must to manage and how:

  • NSW Biosecurity Regulation - Includes some state-wide priority pests and mandates specific steps to manage their impacts.  For example, under the Regulation, it is illegal for a person to keep, move or release a feral pig, wild rabbit, wild deer or European red fox.
  • NSW plans and strategies, including the NSW Invasive Species Plan 2018-2021 and species management publications like the NSW Wild Dog Management Strategy.
  • Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans. These plans:
    • identify the priority pest species in each region
    • outline management outcomes for each priority pest
    • outline local management approaches and provide local
    • guidance on how people can contribute to managing pests.

All land managers must meet the requirements set out in these plans. At the local level, Regional and local plans set out the requirements for managing the impacts of pest animals.

Specific members of the Local Land Services’ team can investigate if they suspect a person or organisation is not managing pests properly and are able to provide educational material outlining the biosecurity risks presented by the pest animals, and management actions that must be taken to manage the risk posed.

If  appropriate management action is not taken to manage the pest animals, trained and authorised staff from Local Land Services can undertake enforcement action.

Local Land Services provides a critical service for land managers and can assist you to understand the priority pests in your region and advise you on the best management approaches.

The NSW DPI website also contains documents and resources to assist you to understand pest management.

No. From 1 July 2018, the management of pest animals will be administered under the Biosecurity Act and a range of new, flexible regulatory tools will take effect; replacing prescriptive instruments including Pest Control Orders.

The changes bring pest animal management into line with the way we already manage weeds and other biosecurity risks in NSW and recognises that different pests affect different regions of the state.

Key elements of the old Pest Control Orders are captured in the regulation. For example, it is still illegal for a person to keep, move or release a feral pig, wild rabbit or European red fox. In recognition of the impacts caused by wild deer, their movement, keeping and release is also prohibited.

The Act provides a range of tools and powers that may be implemented for new pests or where stronger controls are needed.

Land managers who do not manage pests properly, or who breach pest management regulation may face legal action.

As detailed above, providing support, advice and education to land managers is always the preferred approach to ensuring compliance.

There has been a move to a regional approach to managing pest animal to allow a more flexible, tailored approach that is fit for purpose to allow local issues to be managed more effectively.

Different pests affect different regions across the state. It is for this reason Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans set out what pest animals must be managed in each region and how.

The implementation of these Plans puts the decision making powers in relation to pest identification and management in the hands of local people.

Some strict, statewide controls for specific pests are still captured in the Biosecurity Act and Biosecurity Regulation. In addition, NSW DPI prepares state strategies and plans to guide pest animal management.

When these species pose a biosecurity risk, they are considered a pest animal and are to be managed under the NSW Biosecuirty Act 2015.

This means they pose a risk to the economy, environment or community.

Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans outline which species present biosecurity risks in each region and specific actions required to manage those pest animals.

Deer are both a pest animal and a game species.

They are listed as a game species for the purposes of regulated hunting under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002. Landowners, members of their immediate household and their employees are not captured by the licensing requirements and conditions in that Act.

Wild deer are also a recognised pest because of the biosecurity risk posed across the state; meaning they are causing damage to the economy, environment or community.

In recognition of the impacts caused by wild deer, their movement, keeping and release is also prohibited under the revised Biosecurity Regulation.

Many of the Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans identify wild deer as a priority pest for management.

Yes. Under the new arrangements, it is necessary for every land manager to play a role in pest animal management, regardless of whether the land they manage is public or private land.

By law, each land manager must manage and deliver pest animal control measures where there is a risk they will cause damage to the economy, environment, or community.

The costs of pest control activities will be borne by the land manager.  However there is often support provided to assist in pest animal management activities. To find discuss pest control options, contact your Local Land Services office.

Given the impact pest animals have, it is important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risks they create.

The introduction of the Biosecurity Act 2015 means that all tiers of government, industry and the people of NSW need to work together to protect the economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of pests, including pest animals.

Under the new arrangements, there is no longer separate rules for people who manage private or public land.

This means land managers need to:

  • know about the priority pests in their area
  • know what management actions should be taken to manage these pests
  • take effective action to manage local priority pests.

Land managers are supported in managing pest animals by NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services, other land managers and peak industry bodies.

Local government and other public land managers

All public land managers including local councils and county councils have a duty under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to manage vertebrate pest animals on land they own, occupy or manage.

Land managers, communities and special interest groups

All private land managers have a duty under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to manage vertebrate pests on land they own, occupy or manage.

Community volunteers and special interest groups also regularly play a role in managing and monitoring vertebrate pests.

Information for land managers has more.

Industry

Industry has three main roles in invasive species management: (a) managing pests on land and in aquatic environments used for production; (b) managing the trading potential or known invasive species used for, or held by zoos and collectors and (c) not providing vectors or pathways for invasive species establishment through movement of goods, produce and equipment or related activities.

Licensed hunters

Recreational hunting can contribute to control in some circumstances - particularly when it is used as part of an integrated control program using a range of available control methods.

However, licensed recreational hunters are unlikely to provide sufficient pest control to be the sole or primary method of control for most pest animal species.

NSW Department of Primary Industries

The NSW DPI has an enabling role for vertebrate and invertebrate pest animal management in NSW. Its primary responsibilities are in administering biosecurity legislation, policy, training and education at a statewide level. This includes strategic and policy guidance for pest animal management.

Local Land Services

Local Land Services works with the community and relevant stakeholders and Regional Pest Animal Committees to prepare and deliver Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans.

These plans:

  • identify the priority pest species in each local area
  • outline management outcomes for each pest type
  • outline local management approaches and provide local guidance on how people can contribute to managing pests.

Local Land Services:

  • Continues to provide advice, education and guidance to land managers about pest management
  • Coordinates local pest management programs and Restricted Chemical Products vital for effective management of many priority pest animals
  • Enforce the regulations when necessary.

Environment Protection Authority

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA):

  • administers the Pesticides Act 1999
  • develops and enforces pesticide use laws in NSW, including Pesticide Control Orders
  • provides information and advice on the management of pesticides.

Pesticide Control Orders determine which pesticides can be used to manage pest animals and how this needs to be done.

Office of Environment and Heritage - National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

NPWS is responsible for managing National Parks and Nature Reserves for the protection and conservation of biodiversity in NSW.

This involves the development and implementation of Regional Pest Management Strategies, which prioritise programs and specific actions for invasive species including vertebrate pests on lands managed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

NPWS also works with other government agencies and the community to protect biodiversity and agriculture on neighbouring private lands. It also provides advice and undertakes species recovery, threat abatement and community education programs and research to ensure that threatened species are protected.

Threat abatement may involve the development of plans such as the Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the Red Fox (Fox TAP).

Department of Industry - Crown Lands

The Department of Industry is a significant land manager in NSW administering Crown land. The Department of Industry develops and implements invasive species management programs on land under its control. It also supports activities undertaken by community groups and other stakeholders that manage land.

Government employees can be appointed under the Biosecurity Act 2015 as Authorised Officers.

Only Authorised Officers are able to undertake compliance and enforcement activities and investigations.

In relation to managing pest animals in NSW, Local Land Services primarily operates as the enforcement agency with support from NSW DPI.

Game hunting inspectors and the NSW Police Force undertake compliance and enforcement activities relating to hunting of wild deer and other species under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002.