Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003
Tabled Paper 1123
Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Delia Lawrie
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
Parks & Wildlife Commission NT Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 2 Madam CHAIR: Excellent. Dr LAWSON: Because we are keen to give you the best picture we can. I am not a cane toad expert. While I run wildlife management I actually look after, as Im sure youre aware, quite a lot of issues that relates to wildlife management although cane toads is on the list. My reading of the background information and my information about cane toads is that from a scientific perspective, the evidence is somewhat contradictory. And I think that is probably almost the crux of the problem that weve got. The majority of background documentation that I have read would suggest that there seems to be a opinion that cane toads would have some immediate effects on the biota and that would probably be most extreme in the first two to three years of invasion but then that would quickly settle down. Now I think Im going to qualify that opinion on one other observation that there seems to be a lack of substantive baseline information to compare post-changes too, in my opinion. And in a situation like that were dealing rather with more than a little uncertainty, which is not helpful. Now, people have asked us: why did we, if thats the background and my personal opinion, why did we go and do the quoll project? Well I think that was an exception to this uncertainty, I think that in terms of the Northern Quoll, certainly Johns work in re-sampling in Kakadu National Park and I know youve got that report because Rex just said hes got it, that one, John was able to come with a pretty unequivocal statement that he was very concerned that the Northern Quoll might become extinct on the mainland in the Top End. And as far as I was concerned if someone like John says something as overt as that to me I pay attention and thats why we acted to try and move the quolls out or a population of them out to the islands. And Im sure youve seen all the media and I know Delia was with us when we actually put some of that media together. Now, in line with your points in your brief here, I think the identification of the problem is actually self evident: cane toads are coming across the Top End and theres very little, in fact nothing we can do to stop them, in my opinion. The risks associated with that as I say largely unknown. There will be some effects, some species will undoubtedly suffer more than others, there is a scientific sort of difference of opinion on how severe they might be but certainly there will be some effects. The next point, on the potential extent and effects cane toads have or will have in the Northern Territory, again very closely aligned with my first answer, theyll have some