Minister struggling to see through the weeds

The recent report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on the impact of weeds on native ecosystems highlights some glaring deficiencies in our biosecurity system, says National’s spokesperson for Biosecurity David Bennett

“The key recommendation from the report is the need for clearer priority on the nature of these weeds and their impacts.

“At this time, we have a national policy direction that is a generic approach and doesn’t allow for the identification and prioritisation of unwanted organisms.

“There needs to be an approach of priority as to which weeds need monitoring and surveillance.

“At it stands, that responsibility lies with regional councils, and there is a lack of consistency and structure between councils. The need for a priority programme that identifies relevant weeds would give councils certainty and mean that the most dangerous weeds can be dealt with.

“This report can be taken further to our land-based productive sector, wherein basic weeds need to be evaluated to see their net economic impact on our valuable primary sector. The Ministry for Primary Industries has an ongoing review of the system.

“Once again, it’s a case of non-delivery from this Government. Damien O’Connor needs to act with some urgency to protect our biosecurity from invasive species.”