Blitz Against Environmental Crime
**Editor’s Note: For further information please contact Crime Stoppers Media Officer, Cecelia Haddad, [email protected] or phone 0411 264 948**
A new state-wide environmental crime campaign by Crime Stoppers is being launched to address the ongoing issue of crimes having a devastating effect on our waterways.
For the first time Crime Stoppers has collaborated with both Local Land Services (LLS) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) on a dedicated campaign to address the illegal trading of certain plants catastrophic to our waterways.
Plants like water hyacinth, frogbit and salvinia are illegal to trade and devastating to our environment. These plants grow at a rapid rate, block waterways, reduce water quality and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to control. They restrict livestock, birds and other native animals’ access to water, reduce food and shelter for fish and native animals and prevent native water plants from growing.
But it doesn’t stop there. These water plants also put the economy and our community at risk.
“Boating, fishing and swimming will be a thing of the past if we don’t stop the growing and trading of plants which cause havoc in our waterways”, said CEO NSW Crime Stoppers, Mr Peter Price AM.
With spring fast approaching, the rapidly expanding online marketplace has become an emerging pathway for the prohibited trade of plants, and a biosecurity challenge. It is an offence just to have frogbit plants because of the devastating impact that species can have. So, we are appealing to the public for help.
“Community awareness and action will be crucial in stopping the prohibited trading of these plants. We are asking anyone who sees these plants being sold online to report it to NSW Crime Stoppers. added Mr Price.
“To make a real difference and protect our waterways, we need a whole of community approach. People are spending time online and this is where most illegal trading of these plants occurs’, said Mr Price.
Local government authorities and the Nursery & Garden Industry NSW & ACT are also supporting the campaign.
Penalties of up to $1.1 million or 3 years imprisonment are in place for individuals found to be selling these plants.
If you see, know or suspect criminal activity, contact Crime Stoppers in complete confidence on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. We don’t want to know who you are, we just want to know what you know.
For more information about the three targeted weed species visit https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au
For further information, photos or interviews please contact Crime Stoppers Media Officer, Cecelia Haddad, [email protected] or phone 0411 264 948.