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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



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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Tabled Paper 1123


Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Delia Lawrie


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Dr Kennett Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 138 Impacts on Aboriginal people Many of the species that are likely to suffer major declines following cane toad invasion are great cultural, spiritual and economic significance to Aboriginal people. Yet this aspect of the cane toad invasion has been largely overlooked or unacknowledged. I would consider that more attention be paid to this aspect of the invasion. Given that cane toads now cover much of the NT, this kind of study might be best done in collaboration with government and indigenous organisations in WA. I am aware of Aboriginal communities that are currently discussing the need to modify hunting practices on species that are adversely affected by toads. Essentially this may require that hunters reduce or stop hunting some species to promote the species prospects for recovery from severe population depletions caused by toads. These are significant sacrifices being considered by Aboriginal people yet government conservation authorities are poorly prepared to advise people on rates and extent of declines and the rates or indeed likelihood of population recovery for many culturally significant species. To ensure that cultural impacts and Aboriginal attitudes are given due weight in determination of policy in regard to Cane Toads, a research program should be established that considers the following aspects: Surveys among Aboriginal people at sites varying in history of Cane Toad invasion (from long-invaded to presently cane toad-free). Collate information in regard to: a. time of arrival of cane toads in their lands; b. changes in fauna observed since arrival of toads; c. observations of faunal interactions with toads relevant to impacts; d. assessments of fauna most severely affected by toads; e. impacts of faunal change on traditional foraging and hunting activity; and f. other impacts on traditional lifestyles. Describe Aboriginal attitudes to cane toad invasion and the need for control, giving particular regard to views of the seriousness of impacts on traditional practice or important sites. Relate those views to time since cane toad invasion and the traditional significance of species thought to be most severely affected by cane toads. Involve Aboriginal people in survey work and cane toad control activities. Encourage communication among Aboriginal groups in relation to cane toad impacts and their cultural significance. Compare information provided by Aboriginal informants with results of concurrent studies to assess the impact of cane toads on native fauna. Review all government and non-government literature, advice and programs aimed at reducing spread of cane toads with special focus on preventing transport to islands. Assess potential role of indigenous land management agencies or Land Councils in conducting monitoring programs to prevent spread of cane toads to islands. Role of Aboriginal people in cane toad management The majority (if not all) potential toad-free areas are on Aboriginal land. Clearly, the involvement of Aboriginal people is essential in identifying, establishing and maintaining toad free areas and toad quarantine measures. As with other quarantine and conservation issues, the cane toad problem highlights the