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The Queensland Biosecurity Act (2014) regulates the management of invasive plants and animals throughout the state.

Under this Act, all Queenslanders have a General Biosecurity Obligation (GBO) to manage the biosecurity risks associated with invasive plants and animals that are under their control and that they know about or should reasonably be expected to know about.

Effective surveillance requires many eyes to contribute towards a comprehensive knowledge of the distribution of invasive plants and animals within the Region.

Our Conservation and Pest Management team provide education and awareness programs, as well as control weeds and feral pests on Council owned land and thoroughfares across our Region. The team controls weeds along approximately 11,000 km of road network and conduct private property inspections throughout the 13,000 square km of land in the Region.


On this page you will find:


Toowoomba Region Biosecurity Plan

This Biosecurity Plan is a living resource aimed at providing guidance and tools in the management of invasive plants and animals within the Toowoomba Regional Council (Council) local authority area.

This plan lays out our blueprint for managing invasive plants and animals in the Toowoomba Region, including close cooperative ties with neighbouring Councils. In doing so, it aims to embrace a scalable approach to biosecurity management that can be equally applied across the landscape from paddock and property through to locality and intra- and inter-regional scales.

Toowoomba Region Biosecurity Plan


Biosecurity surveillance program

The biosecurity surveillance program focuses on invasive biosecurity matter (e.g. wild dogs and weeds) as identified in the Biosecurity Act 2014

The purpose of the program is to:

  • monitor compliance under the Biosecurity Act 2014 regarding the management of invasive biosecurity matter
  • confirm the presence and extent of invasive biosecurity matter
  • promote best practice management
  • provide advice and information aimed at enhancing community awareness of biosecurity matter.

Find out more on our Biosecurity surveillance program page.


Invasive plant management

Madagascan Fireweed

Madagascan Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis), an introduced weed that competes strongly with pasture species and is toxic to livestock, begins to be visible in the landscape around this time of the year.

Madagascan Fireweed is a category 3 restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).

There are 27 native species of Senecio in Queensland, of which nine have similar flowers with conspicuous yellow rays similar to the introduced species.

Toowoomba Regional Council – under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 – has a responsibility to ensure compliance with the GBO only for the introduced Fireweed, not the other native Senecio species.

While small pockets of introduced Fireweed have become established in the Toowoomba Region, the vast majority of reported sightings have been either Native S. brigalowensis or native S. pinnatifolius. Some reports of fields of yellow flowering weeds have also been identified as wild turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. Sylvestris).

All species of fireweed can be toxic to livestock (native and introduced), and affected landholders are encouraged to manage those infestations that impact their enterprises.

Reports of suspected Fireweed infestations can be made by contacting us on 131 872.

More information on Fireweed,including identification and management options, can be found at:

Velvety tree pear is a drought tolerant shrub that rapidly invades pastures and natural areas and overwhelms native vegetation. Dense infestations can impede access and reduce land use and pastures. The spines can cause injury to stock, humans, and native animals.

Biosecurity Queensland, Toowoomba Regional Council and Southern Queensland Landscapes have collaborated to help reduce the threat of velvety tree pear.


Weeds of particular interest in the Region

High profile weeds (or invasive plant matter) found in the area include:

  • Parthenium
  • Giant rats tail
  • Parramatta grass
  • Honey locust - infestations of established honey locust trees present in Toowoomba and parts of the Condamine river system are a concern and are currently being monitored to prevent possible dispersal into surrounding areas
  • Chilean needle grass - currently infests a number of properties in the Clifton district & Toowoomba City area with large roadside infestations resulting from movement of stock, plant and equipment.

Further information about weeds of interest

Bridal creeper

Honey locust

Chilean needle grass

African boxthorn

Annual ragweed


Fireweed Fireweed (Scenecio Madagascariensis)

Groundsel bush

Harrisia cactus

Mother of millions

Parthenium weed

Prickly pears

Sporobolus grasses

Water weeds


A full list of invasive plants can be found in the Toowoomba Region Biosecurity Plan.

Visit the Business Queensland Invasive plants webpage to learn more about prohibited, restricted and other invasive plants in Queensland. 


Invasive animal management

Invasive animals (formerly known as pest animals) present in the Toowoomba Region include:

  • Feral cats
  • Dingos
  • Wild dogs
  • European fox
  • European rabbit
  • Feral deer
  • Feral goats
  • Feral pigs

A full list of invasive animals can be found in the Toowoomba Region Biosecurity Plan. More information on invasive animal species can be accessed on the Business Queensland Invasive animals website.

How to identify fire ants

Fire ants are copper brown with a darker abdomen and measure 2–6mm in size. Their nests are usually found in open areas and can be dome-shaped mounds or flat patches of loose soil with no obvious entry or exit holes.

Impacts from fire ants 

  • Our farmers are at risk from fire ants as they can destroy crops and farmland as well as damage machinery and electrical equipment.
  • Fire ants also invade residents' areas which could stop your family and pets from being able to use your yard.
  • A nest in one of our parks or bushland could prevent residents from using the area due to the risk of being stung.
  • A sting from a fire ant is painful and can lead to a severe allergic reaction.

How fire ants spread

Fire ants can fly up to 5 km or can be transported without being noticed through organic materials such as soil, hay, mulch, manure, turf and potted plants.

How to report fire ants

We assist landowners to keep their land free of pest animals such as wild dogs, foxes and feral pigs by offering a '1080 baiting service'.

This service is conducted four times a year, and further assistance is provided to landholders on an ad hoc basis.

Visit our Pest animals and approved baiting program page for full details and upcoming baiting dates.

There has been an increase in the number of rabbits being reported across the Region. In all instances, property owners are required to make a reasonable effort to remove rabbits from their property, however, the process for reporting rabbits differs depending on the location of the property and whether or not it lies inside or outside of the area administered by the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board.

The Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board maintains 555 km of rabbit-proof fence, which runs from Mt Gipps (near Rathdowney) to Goombi (between Chinchilla and Miles), where it joins up with the wild dog barrier fence. The Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board the primary point of contact for all rabbit reporting within the board area. Landholders who live outside the board area should contact us or the land protection officers from Biosecurity Qld.

For more information, visit our Rabbit control page.


Landholder biosecurity obligations

The Biosecurity Act 2014 replaced the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 on 1 July 2016 for legislating the management of pest species in Queensland. Under the Act, all persons who deal with a biosecurity matter or carrier, if they know or ought reasonably to know that it poses a biosecurity risk, must take all reasonable or practical measures to minimise the risk.

Weeds and pests are no longer grouped as classes 1, 2 and 3. Categories have replaced these and subsequently, for each category, there is a different process of what you, the landholder, must do to meet your general biosecurity obligation.

Categories of restricted matter and your obligations

Restricted matter can include diseases, viruses, parasites, invasive animals or plants (eg. pest animals or weeds), noxious fish and insect pests. There are seven categories for restricted matter. Each category places restrictions on the dealings with the biosecurity matter or requires actions to be taken to minimise the spread and adverse impact of the biosecurity matter.

There may be several restriction categories that apply to particular biosecurity matter. For example, you would need to follow the requirements of several restriction categories for rabbits. The Act lists rabbits as category 3, 4, 5, and 6 restricted matter. This means that rabbits must not be given, distributed, sold or traded, moved within Queensland, kept by a person or in their control, fed (except during baiting programs) and must not be released into the environment or disposed of other than in the way prescribed under a regulation. You may apply to keep a rabbit for scientific research, commercial use or biological control purposes. Other legislation regulating the exhibited animal industry allows rabbits to be kept under permit for exhibition purposes including, for example, for use in magic acts and by zoos.

A full list of restricted matter and their associated categories can be found in Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Category 1 includes:

  • red imported fire ants
  • electric ants
  • Asian honey bees
  • certain animal diseases, aquatic diseases and pathogens.

Category 2 includes:

  • certain noxious fish
  • weeds
  • pest animals such as spotted gar and red-eared slider turtle.

Your obligations

These two categories have specific urgent reporting requirements. Matter in category 1 must be reported to an inspector within 24 hours. Matter in category 2 must be reported to an inspector or authorised person within 24 hours. An inspector or authorised person can be contacted at Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

These categories must be reported if the restricted matter is in, or on a carrier, in your possession or under your control or at a place where you are the occupier and you are not aware that an appropriately authorised officer has been advised, or you don’t possess a permit for the restricted matter. You must not take any action likely to exacerbate the biosecurity risk. You must take action likely to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by the category 1 or category 2 restricted matter.

Category 3 includes:

  • weeds
  • pest animals
  • noxious fish.

Your obligations

You must not distribute this restricted matter. This means it must not be given as a gift, sold, traded or released into the environment unless the distribution or disposal is authorised in a regulation or under a permit. Deliberate human distribution or disposal is a key source of spread into other areas of the state.

This category includes:

  • specific weeds such as siam weed
  • pest animals such as feral pigs.

Your obligations

You must not move this restricted matter to ensure that it is not spread into other areas of the state.

This category includes:

  • weeds such as hudson pear
  • pest animals such as rabbits
  • noxious fish such as carp.

Your obligations

You must not possess or keep this restricted matter under your control as these pests have a high risk of negatively impacting the environment. You may only keep this restricted matter under a permit of the Act or another Act.

This category includes:

  • invasive animals such as feral deer, foxes, rabbits and wild dogs
  • noxious fish such as carp, gambusia and tilapia.

Your obligations

You must not possess or keep this restricted matter under your control and must not feed this category of restricted matter as feeding may cause their numbers to increase and negatively impact the economy or the environment. Feeding for the purpose of preparing for or undertaking a control program is exempted.

This category includes:

  • noxious fish such as carp, weatherloach, climbing perch, gambusia and tilapia.

Your obligations

 If you have these noxious fish in your possession you must kill the restricted matter and dispose of the carcass in the authorised manner prescribed in regulation.


Related documents & links

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Toowoomba Region Biosecurity Plan

Queensland Biosecurity Act (2014)

Toowoomba Region Rabbit control

Biosecurity surveillance program