Abstract Monitoring the biodiversity of Australian rangelands has been identified as a means of informing policy and supporting funding decisions in relation to the conservation of biodiversity. Australian rangelands are subject to invasion by alien plants that have the potential to have major impacts on ecosystem function and biodiversity, although there has been little quantitative documentation of these effects. Research is needed to improve our understanding of how and to what extent alien plants affect biodiversity in Australian rangelands so that this relationship can be considered when developing and implementing programmes to monitor biodiversity. It is also important to consolidate existing efforts to quantify the extent of alien plant invasions and monitor their progress, thus documenting a process that threatens biodiversity. Information on the presence and abundance of alien plant species should be considered for inclusion as a component of biodiversity monitoring programmes that are undertaken. Monitoring components of biodiversity can itself provide a basis for evaluating weed management strategies.