The State Government has upped the ante in the fight against cane toads by injecting a further $1million into the campaign.
Premier Geoff Gallop today said the State Government would provide $500,000 to the community-based Stop the Toad Foundation. A further $500,000 would be channelled into community awareness programs, including advertising.
The latest allocation brings to $2.5million the amount the State Government has committed to the fight against cane toads in the past eight months.
“I have received a briefing from Environment Minister Judy Edwards, who visited Kununurra and the Northern Territory last week to inspect progress with the State cane toad initiative,” Dr Gallop said.
“Also, earlier this month I met representatives of Stop the Toad to discuss further actions the State Government could take, especially to assist community-based efforts to contain the western spread of cane toads.
“It was evident from Dr Edwards’ visit to the Kimberley and Northern Territory that community involvement and awareness are critical elements in the Government’s overall strategies to try to contain the toads to the east of the Victoria River, 200km from the Western Australian border.
“The representatives from Stop the Toad have demonstrated that they want to complement the State cane toad initiative with community involvement in ‘on the ground’ actions such as trapping.
“On that basis, the Government’s commitment to increase funding for the program by a further $1million is a worthwhile investment in the State’s lifestyle and environment.
”WA is taking a real lead in this fight and we are calling on the Federal Government to match the State’s commitment and match our $2.5million.”
The Premier said the Government would work with the Stop the Toad campaign on a joint cane toad co-ordinating group that would ensure actions by the volunteer conservation organisations and the Government were complementary.
Dr Edwards said the spread of cane toads across the Northern Territory had been devastating, particularly on native mammals such as the northern quoll that also occurred in the Kimberley.
“For example, the northern quoll population in Kakadu National Park effectively has been wiped out,” she said.
“The impact has been such that the NT Parks and Wildlife Service has had to establish populations of northern quolls on offshore islands in an effort to conserve the species for future generations."
The Minister said a key feature of the WA campaign was to work collaboratively with the Territory.
“The degree of co-operation between the NT Parks and Wildlife Service and WA’s Department of Conservation and Land Management is critical to the success of the strategy being implemented,” she said.
“I was particularly impressed at the degree of enthusiasm and collaboration staff from both agencies have for this program.
“WA is the only State that so far has implemented active control and management initiatives ahead to the invasion of the toads. However, it is clear that we can learn much from the experience of Territorians.”
Dr Edwards said a high level of community awareness about cane toads was critical.
“Cane toads are known hitch-hikers,” she said.
“If the community - especially the traveling public - is aware of the risk of hitch-hiking toads, when we will increase the effectiveness of our surveillance and quarantine measures.”
Premier's office: 9222 9475
Environment Minister's office: 9220 5050