Property Inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015
Why we inspect properties for weeds
Biosecurity is a shared responsibility. Enforcing the Biosecurity Act 2015 protects the Economy, Community and Environment from adverse impacts.
The purpose of property inspections is to monitor weed infestations, to locate new infestations, to provide owners and occupiers of land with information and advice on the control of weeds and to determine whether control work, as required under theBiosecurity Act2015 has been carried out. Council employs Biosecurity Officers (weeds) to assist landholders with the identification and control of weeds. Council's Biosecurity Officers are authorised to enter onto lands within the Council area for the purpose of locating and identifying weeds.
Council has recently set a target of inspecting all rural properties and some urban properties within its area of jurisdiction at least once every six years. Properties or localities with a history of weed problems will be subject to property inspections more frequently. Property owners will receive notification prior to an inspection. This notification may be verbal or written.
We highly recommend that the owner or occupier is present during inspections where possible, as it gives both parties the opportunity to discuss what control work has been undertaken and what may be required to ensure compliance with the Biosecurity Act 2015. If you are not able to attend an inspection on the dates notified please contact the officer directly to arrange a more suitable time or advise how our officer can access the property in your absence.
What if I don’t agree to an inspection of my property?
Council’s Biosecurity officers (weeds) are authorised under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and may enter any premises (except residential premises) for the purpose of conducting a weeds inspection. Council can authorise the use of force to enter a property if access has been denied, which may result in our officer cutting any chain that impedes access to the property and inserting a Council lock. This process attracts a fee, which will be charged to the owner/occupier of the land. An occupier of land who obstructs an officer whilst attempting to perform his or her duties is guilty of an offence.
What happens once an inspection is complete?
Following a property inspection, an Inspection Report is forwarded to the owner/occupier. This report will identify any priority weeds present on the land, the degree of infestation and an estimated area of land covered by the weed. The report will identify what weed control work must be undertaken and the timeframe within which it must be undertaken.
A subsequent inspection will be scheduled to check compliance with the control requirements. If, during this inspection the control requirements have not been adequately met Council may take action against the owner or occupier of the land. This may involve the issue of a Penalty Notice or Council may give a Biosecurity Direction under Part 9 Division 2 of the Act. If Council gives a Biosecurity Direction then the owner or occupier will be given an opportunity to make a written submission to Council concerning the issue of the notice and will be given a minimum of 14 working days to do so.
Failing to comply with a Biosecurity Direction
Failure to comply with this Direction is considered an offence and may result in council instituting legal procedures. Under these circumstances Council will charge additional fees for determining whether the Biosecurity direction has been complied with, and in taking action if it has not.Under some circumstances a penalty notice may be issued. This may be done separately to, or in conjunction with, some of the above procedures.