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Title: The Costs and Benefits of a Proposed Mandatory Invasive Species Labelling Scheme: A Discussion Paper Prepared for WWF-Australia by the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, University of New England
Contributor(s): Martin, PV (author); Verbeek, M (author); Thompson, S (author); Martin, J (author)
Corporate Author: WWF-Australia
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: In Australia, the economic impact of weeds and 11 key vertebrate pest animals has been calculated at $4 billion and $720 million per annum respectively. These figures primarily represent production losses and control costs, as the cost of weeds to the environment and biodiversity is largely incalculable.The major invasion pathway for invasive plants and feral fish is through the garden industry and the pet fish industry respectively.The 2005 CSIRO report, Jumping the Garden Fence, documented that the source of 70% of Australia’s agricultural and environmental weeds were escaped invasive garden plants. They are also set to dominate the new weeds that will naturalise in the future. Recent Weeds CRC analysis estimated that of the 4,600 referenced weed species yet to naturalise in Australia, 3,700 (80%) are introduced garden plants.Invasive aquarium fish are by far the biggest source of emerging and new feral freshwater fish. The number of exotic fish in Australian waters jumped from 22 in 1990 to 34 today. All but one of thenewcomers originated from the aquarium trade.The essentially irreversible nature of many new invasions, combined with their cost to the Australian economy and the environment, warrants the implementation of an effective policy response tomitigate the risk associated with these major invasion pathways.In December 2004, a Federal Senate References Committee handed down the report of its enquiry on invasive species. Titled Turning back the tide - the invasive species challenge, the report provided acomprehensive evaluation of the many aspects of this challenge. Among its findings were recommendations that a process be established under the National Weeds Strategy to examine the merits of a mandatory labelling scheme on invasive garden plants; the nursery and garden industry give consideration to labelling of all plants which may have invasive characteristics and should be managed responsibly; and, that gardening and lifestyle programs be encouraged to include healthwarnings about the appropriateness of plants on their shows.This report aims to provide an impetus to these proposals. It is focused upon the potential contribution of such a mandatory labelling scheme to reduce the costs and impacts of invasive garden plants andornamental fish to the environment, government and primary industry. The report involves an in-principle evaluation of the mandatory labelling option relative to a simple ban and voluntary strategies. It does not pretend to provide a definitive answer to the questions that it raises, nor to present empirical data in support of one position or another. The report presents the issues associatedwith labelling strategies to support invasives control regulation, the case for point-of-sale information, discusses the requirements for a behaviourally effective mandatory labelling scheme, and suggestswhy a mandatory rather than a voluntary program is likely to be most effective.
Publication Type: Report
Publisher: WWF-Australia
Place of Publication: Sydney
ISBN: 192103100X
Field of Research (FOR): 180111 Environmental and Natural Resources Law
HERDC Category Description: R2 Consultants Report
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