It took me three years of working around the edge of a big gamba plot on my land to get to the plants in the centre and kill them. Getting rid of these African grasses is my biggest time and labour input and it has cost me a lot of money.
I believe that very few landholders across the top end are across the threat of gamba and how to manage it.
I don’t think efforts to educate the average block holder have got much penetration at this point. I don’t think even government circles understand the enormity of the problem and the huge landscape change that is going to occur if we don’t do something now. It’s very close to the tipping point where we won’t be able to control it beyond a certain point.
I’ve seen, on my property and my neighbour’s property, gamba fires remove tree cover dramatically and in some of my neighbour’s places, I’ve seen them burn down houses. Fortunately nobody’s died yet, but it’s only a matter of time in the Top End with gamba-fuelled fires.
I’d like to remind people to think about what the Northern Territory, especially the Top End, means to you. What is it about this landscape that you love? And remember, unless we change our culture, it’s not going to be here even for our grandchildren. It’s really going to disappear that quickly.