Invasive species information

Invasive (or pest) plants and animals are generally any exotic or introduced species that have an adverse environmental, economic or social impact. Invasive species represent the biggest threat to our biodiversity after habitat loss.

Australia is host to many invasive plant and animal species. Those species that have the potential to harm Brisbane’s natural environment, economy and social amenity are listed in Council’s Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area (PDF - 3.5Mb) (Biosecurity Plan) and managed in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 2014 (Biosecurity Act), and Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL).

Biosecurity Act 2014

On 1 July 2016, the Biosecurity Act replaced the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 for the legislative management of invasive species in Queensland. More information on the Biosecurity Act can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

General Biosecurity Obligation (GBO)

Under the Biosecurity Act, everyone in Queensland now has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO), which means that you need to ensure that your activities do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant (a biosecurity matter). You must ensure that you:

  • take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise the biosecurity risk of any adverse effect caused or likely to be caused by biosecurity matter
  • minimise the likelihood of the risk causing a biosecurity event and limit the consequences of such an event; and
  • prevent or minimise the adverse effects the risk could have and refrain from doing anything that might exacerbate the adverse effects.

Prohibited and restricted matter

Under the Biosecurity Act, certain species of invasive plants and animals are listed as prohibited or restricted matter. Prohibited matter is a disease, contaminant or living thing such as a plant, animal, insect or fish that is not found in Queensland. If prohibited matter was to enter Queensland, it may have a significant adverse effect on our natural environment, economy and social amenity.

If you find prohibited matter, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

Restricted matter is a disease, contaminant or living thing such as a plant, animal, insect or fish that is currently present in Queensland. Restricted matters have specific actions that must be undertaken to limit their impact by reducing, controlling or containing them. Certain restricted matters must also be reported to either Biosecurity Queensland (category 1) or Council (category 2) within 24 hours.

You can find out more about prohibited and restricted matter and your obligations on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website. Council’s Biosecurity Plan contains a list of the invasive plant and animal species that that have been identified as priorities for management in the Brisbane region that also have a statutory requirement to report to Biosecurity Queensland or Council within 24 hours.

Restricted invasive animals

Invasive animals listed as restricted matter that are present in the Brisbane region include:

Other invasive animals

Species that are not listed as prohibited or restricted matter under the  Biosecurity Act 2014, but exhibit pest-like characteristics and can impact on Brisbane’s natural areas include:

Invasive plants

Invasive plants (also known as weeds, pest plants or pest vegetation) can have detrimental environmental, social and economic impacts. Priority species for management in the Brisbane region can be found in Council’s Biosecurity Plan and also in Council’s list of locally significant pest vegetation species (Word - 191kb). For more information on weeds and invasive pest plants, check the Weed Identification Tool or visit the Queensland Government website.

Council supports residents managing invasive plants on their property. However, Council does not permit damaging NALL protected vegetation when work to manage weeds is conducted, unless a Council issued permit to interfere with protected vegetation is obtained. Under NALL, a permit is not required to manage invasive plants or pest vegetation listed in Council’s Biosecurity Plan or Council’s list of locally significant pest vegetation species (Word - 191kb), as long as property owners are not causing damage to protected vegetation or disturbing soil in a way that could cause erosion.

You can report pest plants online. Alternatively, contact Council on 07 3403 8888.

For reports about pest plants in a suburban area with little to no environmental impact, Council will provide advice to the property owner only and in most cases no further enforcement action will occur. As these issues are of a civil nature rather than a biosecurity matter, Council recommends speaking with the property owner directly or utilising the QLD government’s dispute resolution centres.

What Council is doing

Council is committed to managing invasive plants and animals in our local government area by undertaking the following actions:

  • monitoring and managing invasive animals in Brisbane
  • undertaking biosecurity surveillance programs
  • responding to complaints about invasive plants and the sale of invasive plants
  • supporting research and liaising with experts regarding the best methods to manage invasive animals
  • raising public awareness and providing advice to Brisbane residents by updating online information about pest animals and plants
  • implementing a comprehensive Biosecurity Plan
  • surveying and treating new infestation early
  • containing and maintaining established water weed infestations
  • providing information and assistance to residents on invasive species through local events, supporting community groups involved in natural area rehabilitation projects
  • supporting research projects relating to aquatic pests.

What you can do

Everyone has a general biosecurity obligation to manage the risks posed by invasive plants and animals. Learn more about the local invasive species, how to control them and reduce their environmental, social and economic impact.

  • be aware of pest plants and animals on land you control, and have a plan to manage them
  • make sure if you are buying or selling plants that they are not invasive pest plants
  • do not keep rabbits, ferrets red-eared slider turtles or any other illegal pets
  • do not feed a cat that you do not own
  • keep poultry in a fox proof enclosure
  • report any sightings of invasive animals to Council
  • never dump unwanted pets in the bush or in waterways – they can survive and breed
  • collect and humanely dispose of cane toads and their spawn (cane toads produce eggs in a long continuous string, native frogs produce separate loose eggs in a ‘frothy’ mass. Gently run a stick through the spawn. If you can pick up a long connected string of eggs, remove them)
  • provide a refuge for lizards and small marsupials by leaving dead and fallen timber, hollow logs and piles of stones around your property
  • if you own a large property, ensure your fencing allows native wildlife to move around and through safely
  • do not feed invasive animals – cover and/or secure all potential food sources including chicken coops, compost heaps, rubbish bins and pet food
  • use only native fish in outdoor ponds (e.g. crimson spotted rainbow fish, pacific blue eye, firetail gudgeon, eel-tailed catfish). They are great for reducing mosquitos
  • use only native plants in aquariums and outdoors ponds (e.g. hornwort, thin vale, water sprite)
  • aquarium plants and dead fish should be buried or put in the rubbish
  • release aquarium and pond water onto the garden – never into the toilet, stormwater drain or waterway
  • learn how to identify aquatic weeds that inhabit your area and get to know when and how to treat them. The earlier you detect and tackle the problem the higher the likelihood of successfully eradicating them
  • if you find aquatic weeds or exotic fish in a creek or dam, seek expert advice on control options immediately.

Report invasive plants and animals

Invasive plants and animals can be reported to Council:

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