Prickly pear (all Opuntia species, excepting Opuntia ficus-indica)

Weed control program

Section 371 (1) b of the Biosecurity Act 2015

This Weed Control Program is a Council endorsed document under Section 371 (1) (b) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 and describes how a person must discharge the person’s general biosecurity duty for the biosecurity matter (weed) described.

Plant species

Common name: Prickly pear
Scientific name: All Opuntia species, excepting Opuntia ficus-indica

Area of operation

Local government area of Eurobodalla Shire.

Species information

Native to the Americas, Prickly pear is a spiny, drought-resistant succulent that rapidly invades pastures and natural areas and overwhelms other vegetation. Prickly pear spreads by seed or vegetatively by segments which root where they contact the ground. The plant invaded large areas of northern NSW and central Queensland in the early 1900s and was infesting some 25,000,000 hectares. Several biological controls were introduced, namely Cactoblastis moth and Cochineal beetle, which brought most infestations under control, however the threat of reinfestation where these biological controls are not as effective, such as the Deua River, mean that landholders in the Eurobodalla Shire must remain vigilant with regards to control of this genus.

Legal obligations

Any person who deals with biosecurity matter or a carrier and who knows, or ought reasonably to know, the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed by the biosecurity matter, carrier or dealing has a biosecurity duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the biosecurity risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised.

Weed risk assessment

Risk level: Medium
Impacts: Environment
Control objective: Containment

Council control requirements

  1. Destroy all plants, or if that is not practicable, destroy as many plants as is practicable and stop the spread of any remaining plants from the property in a manner agreed to, or dictated by, Council.
  2. The plant, including part(s) of the plant, must not be propagated or distributed.


A person who fails to discharge the person’s general biosecurity duty is guilty of an offence.

In the event that the general biosecurity duty is not discharged, Council may:

  • charge a reinspection fee
  • issue a fine notice (refer to Biosecurity Regulation 2017 (NSW) Schedule 6 - Penalty notice offences)
  • enter the property, perform weed direction works, and recoup all costs and expenses incurred.

Review date

When required.

Contact details

Invasive Species Supervisor - Biosecurity Act 2015 Authorised Officer
PO Box 99
Moruya NSW 2537

T: 02 4474 1000