'A necessary step': $1000 weeds fines issued by county council

THE weed authority that covers the Oberon region says some landholders are cleaning up and others are paying the price for not doing so.

A recent report to the Upper Macquarie County Council showed that its weed biosecurity officers have undertaken more than 1600 inspections of properties covering more than 125,000 hectares of land across Oberon, Bathurst, Blayney and Lithgow council areas in the past year.

The inspections identified that only 464 of those properties had serious weed infestations, and weed control notices were issued.

County chairman and Bathurst Regional councillor Ian North said it had been pleasing "to see so many landholders making a real effort to control invasive weeds on their land, particularly given the very challenging local conditions over the last year or more, with drought, then fire, and now the COVID-19 pandemic".

"It has also been great to see the public landholders doing a lot more work on weed control recently," he said.

"The County Council treats all landowners the same - private or public - and over the last year or so we have developed some very firm but co-operative working relationships with big public landholders including Forestry Corporation, Transport for NSW and Crown."

The report to the Upper Macquarie County Council also showed 15 landholders had been issued with $1000 on-the-spot fines in recent times.

Of the 488 properties subject to weed control notices, that have been re-inspected to date, 321 have been brought under control, 91 have work underway, and the remaining 76 have been given enforceable biosecurity directions - just one step short of a fine.

Cr North said it was unfortunate that fines had to be issued, but "it is a necessary step in the process for dealing with the minority of people who just do not care or won't make an effort".

He said the County Council had been working closely with local councils delivering a roadside weed spraying program involving 94 roads extending for nearly 1000km.