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
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Written Submissions Dr Kennett Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 139 enormous value of a robust, trained and well-resourced network of Aboriginal ranger programs and organisations across the NT. The Cane toad problem provides an opportunity and impetus to government to assist the development of Aboriginal ranger programs and to make an ongoing commitment to resources and training for Aboriginal ranger programs. Appropriate funding, training and support should be made available for Aboriginal ranger organisations to engage in a full range of cane toad management actions including (not exclusively) consultations and education programs, fauna impact studies, quarantine patrols and measures, and search and destroy missions where toads breach quarantine barriers. Education Programs Many Aboriginal communities in the Top End are already dealing with toads as a human health issue. I personally am not aware of any deaths from toads but have no information on other human health issues. The committee should be in a position to make decisions on this following its public hearings in remote areas. If human health issues are significant then it may be necessary to initiate an education program about potential dangers to human health posed by handling and ingestion of toads There will be a need for continuing education program aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at indigenous people to encourage people to make sure they do not accidentally or deliberately transport cane toads to areas which are currently toad free, and especially to areas that would otherwise remain free of cane toads, such as offshore islands and any other areas that can be isolated from the spread of toads. I understand that the NLC Caring for Country Unit has undertaken some education activities but the program lacks adequate resources. Public education methods that should be considered include picture booklets, posters, videos, television advertisements and documentaries. Impacts of toads on native fauna Although cane toads have been present in Australia for nearly 70 years, there is still limited information about the impacts of cane toads on native species and ecosystems. Progress in the NT has been hampered by a lack of NT government support for and co-ordination of impact studies. Despite this there are a number of studies currently underway in the NT assessing the impact of toads on native fauna. I am aware that a list of current studies has been provided with the submission from Environment Australia. The proposed task force should play a lead role in providing co-ordination and communication between researchers and of research results to relevant agencies, organisations, communities and the public. Given that many existing initiatives currently receive no government funding, the progress and expected outcomes of existing research projects should be reviewed with the aim of identifying projects that require assistance as well as identifying gaps and initiating further research as necessary. Bio-Control of Cane Toads The recent experience of foxes being released into Tasmania indicates that island quarantine probably cant be maintained forever. Some form of bio-control will