Pest animals and weeds in Australia

Pest animals and weeds not only reduce agricultural productivity, they also cause damage to the environment and natural resources.

Everyone plays a role in helping farmers, industry, communities and governments tackle this problem.

Managing pest animals and weeds

Pest animal management

Many vertebrate animals introduced to Australia have become pests. Pest animals are a significant social, economic and environmental burden for Australia, negatively impacting on Australia’s agriculture, biodiversity, natural and built environments, public health and productivity.

Effective pest animal management involves a combination of preventing their entry to Australia, wherever possible, eradicating those that do enter, when feasible, and managing the negative impacts of those that become established.

Australian Pest Animal Strategy

The Australian Pest Animal Strategy was developed in 2007 to provide national guidance on pest animal management, which is primarily the responsibility of landholders and state and territory governments. It was revised in 2017 and is available below.


Document Pages File size
Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017 to 2027 PDF PDF Icon 56 914 KB
Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017 to 2027 DOCX Word Icon 56 2.0 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Weeds management

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Australia's environment and primary production resource base, reducing farm and forest productivity, displacing native species and contributing to land degradation. The cost of weeds to agricultural industries is estimated at $4 billion a year. The cost of weeds to the environment is difficult to calculate but could be greater.

Nationally, pest plants continue to invade the land, with ​exotic species currently accounting for about 15 per cent of flora. Many were originally imported for use as garden ornamentals, although Australia’s current biosecurity arrangements have significantly reduced this risk.

About one-quarter of these species are, or have the potential to be, either serious agricultural and​environmental weeds. Almost all of Australia's native vegetation has been, or could be, affected by weeds, with the potential to change the structure, species composition, fire frequency and abundance of native ecosystems.

Australian Weeds Strategy

The Australian Weeds Strategy was developed in 2007 to provide national guidance on best practice weed management. It was revised in 2017 and is available below.


Document Pages File size
Australian Weeds Strategy 2017-2027 PDF PDF Icon 48 657 KB
Australian Weeds Strategy 2017-2027 DOCX Word Icon 48 632 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Related Links

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment supports the management of pest animals and weeds in Australia by:

  • providing national leadership and coordination
  • investing in pest animal and weed management, where it is in the national interest
  • conducting research and development into new and improved control tools and technologies, including biological control 
  • participating in emergency responses to exotic incursions.

We work with the state and territory governments, industry and the community to protect Australia from pest animals and weeds.

Investment includes:

Areas of national leadership and coordination include:

The Australian Government also funds established weed and pest animal research through:

Previous investment includes:

Established Pest Animals and Weeds Management Pipeline Program

Building on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper Management of Established Pest Animals and Weeds initiative, the Australian Government has committed $30.3 million to the Established Pest Animals and Weeds Management Pipeline Program over four years from 2019–2020. This funding will help combat some of Australia’s worst established pest animals and weeds to reduce their impact on Australian farmers, communities and the environment. The objectives of the program are:

  • Objective 1: national prioritisation, information and coordination
  • Objective 2: priority pest innovative solutions
  • Objective 3: farm ready management techniques, national coordination and delivery

In line with these objectives, $30.3 million has been allocated to various programs to deliver a lasting legacy to farmers, land managers and the wider community in the fight against established pest animals and weeds.

Current initiatives include:

  1. The advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round. A $13 million competitive grant round to advance a range of breakthrough control solutions that challenge traditional approaches for the control of established pest animals or weeds, by researching and developing new practices, methods and tools, or adapting existing ones for use in new or different ways.
  2. $1.4 million to implement the National Feral Pig Management Coordinator Program through Australian Pork Limited. The national coordinator will lead the development of a National Feral Pig Management Action Plan and ensure reliable feral pig control methodologies are accessible and adopted by farmers, land managers and the wider community.
  3. $1 million to both South Australia and Western Australia in 2019-20 for their state wild dog fencing projects.
    1. The funding to South Australia, together with $9 million from other Commonwealth sources, will deliver on the $10 million election commitment to the South Australia wild dog fence project, from 2019-20 to 2022-23.
  4. $160,000 to CSIRO to undertake a pilot project to explore the possibility of delineating sub-populations of feral pigs in Australia, using DNA samples from northern and southern Australia.
  5. Two projects building on work undertaken through the Agricultural Competitiveness White paper – Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure:
    1. $291,500 to the CSIRO to continue research into a biological control option for fireweed.
    2. $299,830 to the University of Queensland to undertake research using bioisostere technology, to develop herbicides to target weeds, including WoNS.

Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure

The Established Pest Animals and Weeds Measure was a $50 million investment to improve the tools, technologies, information and skills farmers and their communities need to tackle pest animals and weeds.

This measure was part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

Areas of investment included:

National Landcare Program

The department invests in pest animal and weed management through the National Landcare Program.

Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

The Department contracts the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, to undertake nationally collaborative research, development and extension to address the ongoing threat from invasive species.

The Centre’s PestSmart Portal provides farmers and land managers with information on current best practice management based on rigorous research to help in making informed decisions.

Last reviewed: 14 April 2021
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