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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Written Submissions Tiwi Land Council Part I Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 177 SUBMISSION NO. 25A Tiwi Land Council, Mr Frederick Mungatopi Chairman PO Box 38545 Winnellie NT 0821 17 July 2003 Chair Environment and Sustainable Development Committee Dear Chair Re: Exclusion of the cane toad and other pests from Tiwi Islands BACKGROUND By virtue of their isolation, having the Northern Territory's highest rainfall, and being at Australia's northern extreme, the Tiwi Islands have a unique biota including a number of endemic species and sub-species. These unique natural resources support a number of developing economic opportunities including tourism, recreational fishing, arts and craft production, aquaculture and forestry. The Tiwi Islands have been free of many of the exotic pests and diseases that occur on the Northern Territory mainland. Unfortunately, however, we are now discovering new outbreaks of introduced weeds and feral animals. Increasing traffic between Darwin and the Islands, and the impending arrival of the cane toad in Darwin are placing the flora and fauna of the Tiwi Islands at great risk. Our fledgling aquaculture and forestry enterprises are vulnerable to attack from exotic pests and diseases that may already occur elsewhere on the mainland. Outbreaks are often found only after extensive damage has already occurred, and single incursions could destroy these emerging enterprises. For these reasons, it is an urgent priority that we install and maintain a high standard of quarantine facilities and procedures for the Tiwi Islands. It is anticipated that cane toads will reach Darwin during the 2003/04 wet season, and it is imperative that we do all in our power to protect the Islands from their devastating impact. CURRENT SITUATION The most common means of introduced species reaching the Tiwi Islands is through freight and luggage, the majority of which travels by barge from Darwin. We sought and received specialist advice from consultants and Government, who suggested the construction of wash down facilities and quarantine holding areas. It is the first attempt in Australia to provide a cane toad barrier of this type, and our advice is that it is an achievable goal. An effective quarantine holding area will require metal fencing, metal shelving and an undercover storage area. Access in and out of the area will be over specially designed grids that prevent cane toad access. It is anticipated that goods received at the Barge
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