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
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Environment Australia Part I Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 104 SUBMISSION NO. 15A Environment Australia Parks Australia North Mr Peter Cochrane Director of National Parks INTRODUCTION Environment Australia (EA) is the Commonwealth portfolio that advises the Commonwealth Government on policies and programs for the protection and conservation of the environment. Of particular relevance to this inquiry, EA; manages Commonwealth reserves, including Kakadu National Park which is managed by the Director of National Parks and Aboriginal traditional owners; conducts research in the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory, through the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS); administers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which includes provisions relating to threatened species and threatening processes; manages the Natural Heritage Trust, jointly with Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia. The four programs and ten areas of activity under the Natural Heritage Trust are listed at Attachment A. Some information has been provided to the inquiry verbally by Kakadu National Park staff, members of the Kakadu Board of Management and by the Director of ERISS. This submission supplements the information provided at the hearings. This submission addresses the six terms of reference for the inquiry, as listed in the call for submissions. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM AND RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CANE TOADS IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY AND THE POTENTIAL EXTENT AND EFFECTS CANE TOADS HAVE OR WILL HAVE IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY Extent of cane toad invasion Cane toads were introduced to coastal Queensland in the 1930s and arrived in the Northern Territory in the early 1980s. Parks Australia, the division of EA which jointly manages Kakadu National Park with the Aboriginal traditional owners of the park, has kept records of reported sightings of cane toads since their arrival in Kakadu National Park. EA does not have centralised records of cane toads elsewhere in the Territory or in other States. Cane toads arrived in the southern end of Kakadu National Park in 2001 through the Katherine River drainage system. They are now well-established in the upper reaches of the East Alligator, South Alligator and Mary Rivers. In Kakadu, cane toads are moving generally north-west and downstream. They have advanced very rapidly in the wet seasons and more slowly in the dry seasons. Since early 2003, a few individual cane toads have been found around Jabiru. As at May 2003, cane toads have been sighted within Kakadu as far north as Mudginberi and as far west as Cooinda. They are now well established at least as far north as the Nourlangie Rock area in the Nourlangie Creek catchment.