A $500,000 community awareness campaign begins in January 2006 as part of the State Government’s contribution to the war against cane toads and the threat they pose to Western Australia’s biodiversity and lifestyle.
Speaking from Kununurra, Environment Minister Judy Edwards said the campaign included radio, television and print advertisements that would have an emphasis on audiences in the State’s north.
“The ads will run on indigenous radio and television and tourist radio,” Dr Edwards said.
“The first instalment of advertisements, which are currently in production, is expected to air in the north of the State in the second half of January and first half of February, when there is an increase in toad activity and movement due to the wet season.
“They will be on-air again in March through to the end of May, when the tourist season is under way.
“The ads will also be shown in Perth and the South-West at this time, when people are making plans to go up north.”
Dr Edwards said the awareness campaign was part of the Gallop Government’s $2.5million State cane toad initiative.
The Minister has been visiting the ‘western front’ of the campaign, inspecting the Timber Creek area along the Victoria River, 200km east of the WA-Northern Territory border.
“Community involvement and awareness are critical elements in the Government’s overall strategies to contain cane toads east of the Victoria River in the Northern Territory, 200km from the WA border,” Dr Edwards said.
“Working in tandem with community groups such as Kimberley Toad Busters, Department of Conservation and Land Management staff based at Kununurra continue to hand-collect toads at night to control existing populations around Victoria River; service cane toad traps set at strategic locations; investigate the current spread of toads; and respond to reported cane toad sightings both in WA and in the Northern Territory.”
The Minister said 72 CALM traps were now in place and regularly serviced in WA and the Northern Territory.
“So far we have caught and disposed of some 1,200 cane toads weighing more than 240kg,” she said.
Dr Edwards said in November, two new full-time employees had joined CALM’s control and surveillance team in Kununurra and another was expected to start this month, ensuring the continuous operation of two field teams during the wet season.
“We must remain ever-vigilant against these ‘biological bombshells’ and continue working together to stop this menace before it reaches our borders,” she said.
“This advertising campaign will play a big role in bringing the cane toad message to the community.”
Minister's office: 9220 5050