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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Parks & Wildlife Commission NT Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 28 Madam CHAIR: I was going to say, what are the protocols elsewhere? Dr LAWSON: Well in Western Australia they have a system whereby there is a weediness index put onto a particular variety or plant before its introduced and its my understanding that anything that comes in has to go through this process of being assessed by this independent committee of experts, I hate that word but you know what I mean, people with experience in that respect but it includes people with and expertise in bio-diversity, it includes agronomists, it includes pasture scientists but what Im trying to say, the process is not just one sided and I think Johns predictions are actually unfortunately going to come true: that we are going to bear the effects of some of these introductions in a way that makes cane toads look like a walk in the park. Mr WOOD: And I think just to back up that, look how long it takes to bring on a biological control insect into attack mimosa, takes years, yet you can walk in with gamba grass, thats it, I mean it was a classic example where it might be a good species but if some work had been done on it for instance perhaps to hybridize it so it didnt have viable seed as is done with some of the millets, it could have been just a use that old phrase, win/win situation but at the moment it certainly shows the so called theory of sustainable agriculture is a laugh, is a joke because someone else is now paying for the control of that particular species outside of where it was originally meant to grow. Madam CHAIR: Well Ill raise this issue with the Minister for the Environment who also has primary industries. Its not in our terms of reference, so it cant be included in the recommendations but because its been raised today Ill take it up. Mr WOOD: Not so much Gamba grass but the introduction of species into the Territory. There should be some perhaps go Madam CHAIR: Thats what Im going to raise, the issue of we dont have any separate authority that looks at the introduction in the first instance, can something be introduced? Dr WOINARSKI: Thats certainly always far cheaper to solve the problem before it happens. Madam CHAIR: And Ill, if by raising that, Ill suggest they look at the WA example but we cant formally recommend because its not within our terms of reference but I will as the Chair of this committee because its come up in this discussion, take it up with the Environment Minister. Dr LAWSON: Well one thing I would draw attention to, related to cane toads and we touched on this in our conversation this afternoon, I think that John said, its because they are warty and ugly, no body cares if they get controlled and you know