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Protecting our environment from pests and diseases

Biosecurity is the protection of our economy, environment and community from pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants. It keeps our World Heritage-listed island free from pest animals, plants and pathogens, and protects our rare native species and unique island ecosystem.

Who is responsible for biosecurity

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, along with other government agencies, industry, the island community, and visitors, all play a vital role in maintaining Lord Howe’s biosecurity.

Our biosecurity rules

The Island’s biosecurity rules are different to those for NSW and the Australian mainland. Lord Howe has removed invasive mammals including cats, goats, and pigs. From 2019 to 2021 a rodent eradication program was undertaken on Lord Howe Island, the largest populated island to attempt a full scale rodent eradication. Comprehensive island wide checking of the permanent park preserve and settlement area is underway to determine the outcome of the eradication. We have also successfully eradicated pathogens such as myrtle rust, and are halfway through a bold 30-year weed eradication program. By eradicating invasive pests and preventing their reintroduction, we can protect the many species that are found nowhere else on earth and safeguard Lord Howe’s pristine environment.

With the recent program aiming to remove rats and mice, we are stepping up biosecurity on the Island. General national biosecurity arrangements and responsibilities also apply. These are set out in the Biosecurity Act 2015 and subordinate legislation.

How you can help

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, everyone has a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risks they encounter. Most importantly:

  • follow the Lord Howe Island importation guidelines for plant matter, animals, and freight; and
  • report biosecurity risks such as rodent sightings and noxious weeds.