Bid to stop spread of ‘devastating’ weed on Coffs Coast
BIOSECURITY measures are swiftly being put in place in a bid to prevent the spread of a devastating weed discovered in the region for the first time.
Hundreds of flowering parthenium weed plants were recently found at a Nambucca Heads property, and inspections are now underway in neighbouring areas.
The weed had already spread across an area of approximately two hectares on the Nambucca Heads property when a call was made to the NSW Department of Primary Industries Biosecurity Helpline, according to DPI’s State Priority Weeds Coordinator Charles Mifsud.
Regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia, it can cause respiratory problems and severe dermatitis in humans.
It reduces crop and land values and can cause kidney damage, allergies and even death in livestock.
“Council weeds officers have thoroughly inspected the property to locate all existing plants, which were spread across an area of approximately two hectares,” Mr Mifsud said.
“Flowering plants were removed and destroyed, and weeds officers are working with the property owner to manage the infestation.”
The local outbreak marks the 21st to be detected in NSW since April this year alone, and is the third outbreak that has been linked to wholegrain organic chicken feed originating from Queensland.
The feed also caused infestations in Engadine in Sydney and Ravensdale on the Central Coast.
Parthenium weed is a major pest plant in Queensland and results in estimated losses of at least $16 million per year for the state’s farmers.
A parthenium weed management plan is now being developed by NSW DPI, Nambucca Valley and Bellingen Shire Councils, and North Coast Local Land Services.
“On-going surveillance is helping ensure the infestation is contained and any plants found will be destroyed,” Keegan Noble, Nambucca Valley Council weeds officer said.
“Staff will inspect nearby properties and systematically check high-risk sites along creek banks, roadways and areas where machinery is kept.”
Residents will receive notification from council regarding the inspection program and can arrange to meet and discuss the weed with staff.
Everyone is urged to be on the lookout for parthenium and people who suspect they have seen the weed can call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244 or their local council for plant identification and assistance.
Locals are urged to check areas where hay, grain or seed has been fed to pets, livestock or chickens. Inspect roadsides and areas with bare soil, where soil or compost have been delivered or where earthworks have taken place.