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; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Delia Lawrie
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Environment Australia Part II Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 124 During 1999 Environment Australia informally sought the views of the Northern Territory Parks & Wildlife Commission. The Commission advised that further work on a biological control of cane toads was not considered warranted and did not intend funding such work. The Commission considered that from the range of vertebrate pests that required management for conservation reasons, a significant number would be accorded a higher priority than cane toads. In August 1999 the Northern Territory wrote to the Commonwealth concerning progress with the CSIRO cane toad biological control project and any other Commonwealth cane toad control proposals. In October 1999 the Commonwealth wrote to the Northern Territory seeking their involvement in a national approach to co-fund a renewed research and development effort to control cane toads. The Northern Territory responded providing qualified support to co-fund research and a development program for cane toad control, depending on the quality of the application received. In February 2000 the Commonwealth advertised nationally for expressions of interest to undertake a research program for biological control on cane toads. Based on the results of this process, the Commonwealth decided to proceed directly with CSIRO and funded an initial two year project. This research project was the subject of discussions with the NT inquiry on 19 May 2003, and which recently received additional funding under the Natural Heritage Trust. A COMPARISON BETWEEN RESEARCH OF OTHER FERAL ANIMALS AND CANE TOADS Based on a preliminary evaluation of the information available to adequately address this request, it was decided that it may be useful to provide a snap shot of some of the funding provided for one nationally recognised pest species. The feral rabbit was selected to provide a useful comparison to the cane toad, as the rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) research is one of the most recent vertebrate pest biological control project conducted in Australia. The following figures provide conservative estimates of the total costs that would have been involved. Importantly, the information provides an indication of some of the major contributions made by the Commonwealth and State \Territory Governments. Starting in July 1991, when the initial three-year laboratory project with CSIRO commenced, to the 1999/2000 financial year, a summary of known funding is outlined in Table 1. Table 1 Contributors 1991-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 $950,000 $950,000 Commonwealth $750,000 $650,000 States & Territories unknown $950,000 $950,000 $375,000 $375,000 Industry unknown $1M $1M unknown unknown unknown unknown Total $750,000 $1M $1M $4.5M $375,000 $375,000 Contributors 1991-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 $950,000 $950,000 Commonwealth $750,000 $650,000 States & Territories unknown $950,000 $950,000 $375,000 $375,000 Industry unknown $1M $1M unknown unknown unknown unknown Total $750,000 $1M $1M $4.5M $375,000 $375,000 (All funding amounts are approximations.)