Invasive Species Council



Invasive Species Council

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In Australia we’ve learned the hard way that once a powerful new invader like the fox, rabbit or cane toad enters the country it is nearly always impossible to eradicate.

The cost of this lesson has been enormous – invasive species are primarily to blame for Australia having the worst mammal extinction rate in the world. Feral cats alone kill an estimated 75 million native animals across the country every night, and have become our number one predator.

Invasive weeds are also taking an enormous toll on our natural environment. They radically alter ecosystems and threaten the survival of Australian native plants and animals.

As a result many of our endangered native animals are now in a race for survival as governments and conservation organisations struggle to keep them from becoming yet another statistic on the global extinction list.

That’s why we are focusing our energies on preventing new invasive species from entering and becoming established in Australia.

Prevention and early action

When Europeans first arrived in Australia they ushered in an era of unprecedented invasions that continue to this day. First came the rabbit, fox and feral cat, then the cane toad. Noxious overseas weeds now number in their thousands.

Some can be controlled and contained, but most continue to wreak havoc on our wildlife and environment, our farming communities and economy. We now know that invasive species are a leading threat to Australia’s wildlife.

If we have learned anything it is that Australia cannot afford any more harmful invasive species.

That’s why we want Australia to develop a first line of defence, a biosecurity system that will keep us safe from new harmful invasive species like yellow crazy ants, which threaten Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The key to this system is prevention and early action.
Eradication, containment, control

On the Australian mainland we still have time to eradicate recently introduced invasive species such as yellow crazy ants and red fire ants before they get out of control.

And on our 8300 islands we have unique opportunities to remove pests such as rats, cats and rabbits, liberating native wildlife from harmful invaders.

Control of widespread invasive species must be science-based and supported by research. Governments and community effort must target those areas where the damage is greatest.

That’s why our work under this objective includes:

Facilitating eradication of recent mainland arrivals and invasive species from offshore islands.
Lobbying for government-led containment strategies for emerging pests such as feral deer and horses.
Supporting targeted control measures underpinned by science.
Promoting the ‘general biosecurity obligation’.

Our strategic plan

In strategic plan sets out five priority areas for the organisation’s prevention and early action work which forms the majority of our efforts. It also explains the approach to our work seeking to eradicate, contain and control invasive species that have already arrived and established in Australia.
We can’t turn the clock back and eliminate harmful weeds, the fox, cat or cane toad, but with your help we can pressure state and federal governments into stopping dangerous new species from entering and becoming established in Australia.

Managed/contributed to the following campaigns

Type of group


Primary environmental focus

Conservation & Protection

Geographic sphere or activity


Primary location


Known address

PO Box 166, Fairfield Vic 3078.

Website link/s

Founding Year


History of group

How we got started

In 2002 eight people were drawn together by a shared concern that the Australian landscape was being radically altered by the invasion of weed and pest species and decided to do something about it.

The result was the creation of the Invasive Species Council.

Although these people came from a diverse range of backgrounds, they all shared a passion for the Australian bush and a desire to protect it from damaging invasive species.

Together, they formed the Invasive Species Council’s Foundation Committee:

Dr Barry Traill, zoologist and conservation advocate.
Tim Low, environmental consultant and author.
Amanda Martin, fundraiser and conservation advocate.
Steve Mathews, environmental consultant and conservation advocate.
Paola Parigi, resource economist.
Lucy Vaughan, planning and environment lawyer.
Paul Baddeley, financial analyst.
Kate Blood, horticulturist and weed expert.

Although they are one of the top three threats facing Australia’s natural environment invasive species are all too often neglected as a conservation issue.

It was this realisation in 2002 that spurred a number of committed environmentalists to create the Invasive Species Council.

Founding members include research zoologist Dr Barry Traill and biologist and writer Tim Low, who worked for the Invasive Species Council for several years as a project officer.

Writing in the first edition of Feral Herald, ISC’s quarterly newsletter, Barry summed up the rationale for establishing a group to focus on invasive species this way:

“Back in 1999 I read Feral Future by Tim Low. It made a big impact on me. For the first time I grasped properly what a number of biologists, especially weed experts, had been saying for years. Invasive species of all types and descriptions are a huge problem in Australia. A huge, systematic problem that needs an appropriately huge, systematic response.”

We now know that invasives are one of the greatest threats facing native species and nature on Earth, and certainly in Australia.

Read what The Age newspaper reported about the formation of the Invasive Species Council.

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