Tackling gamba grass a major election issue in the Territory￼
Environment groups welcome LNP $11m invasive species election pledge
Environmental groups and invasive species experts have welcomed the news that the Liberal-National Coalition has promised significant funding to tackle the gamba crisis in the Northern Territory, with decisive action on gamba becoming a cross-partisan issue across the main parties this election.
Gamba grass is a highly invasive Weed of National Significance which fuels hotter, more dangerous fires – threatening homes, livelihoods, and iconic places like Kakadu National Park. It has been one of the most prominent issues in the Northern Territory ahead of the Federal Election.
The Coalition has today pledged an additional $11 million towards tackling gamba throughout the Northern Territory, including $8m for grants to deliver more equipment, $1m for Parks Australia to identify priority measures and areas at Kakadu and Uluru national parks, and $2m for the Resilient Landscapes Hub. It is understood this funding is in addition to $450,000 pledged by the Country Liberal Party earlier in the campaign to assist Territory NRM in their gamba efforts in Arnhem Land.
“This is huge news for the Territory. This historic funding has the potential to stop the expansion of one the biggest environmental threats in the Top End dead in its tracks,” said Dave Liddle from the Environment Centre NT and member of the Northern Territory Gamba Grass Weed Advisory Committee.
“Finally we are seeing funding commitments from all parties which match the scale of the gamba problem and give us a chance to get on top of the gamba crisis for the first time.”
“Gamba grass is one of the most destructive invasive weeds in Northern Australia. It fuels hotter, more intense fires which are transforming the Top End by reducing tree cover, changing water availability, depleting nutrients and increasing greenhouse gas emissions,’ said Invasive Species Council Acting CEO James Trezise.
“This announcement is strongly welcomed and clearly recognises that the federal government has a key role to play in tackling this dangerous and destructive weed,” said Mr Trezise.
“The Gamba Army has made some headway into tackling gamba, but it’s important that we see federal commitment to properly resource all efforts to eradicate gamba once and for all, and protect the Northern Territory’s globally significant northern savanna and places like Kakadu National Park,” said Mr Liddle.
Today’s announcement from the Coalition joins announcements from the other major federal political parties:
- The Australian Labor Party has committed $9.8 million to scale up the work of the successful Gamba Army and protect Kakadu National Park from the growing threat of gamba.
- The Australian Greens has committed to a package of more than $24 million in funding for action on gamba and buffel grass in the Northern Territory, which includes $9.8 million each for Gamba and Buffel Grass and a one-off $5 million boost to scale up rangers’ efforts in Litchfield National Park.
The Invasive Species Council, Environment Centre NT and Gamba Grass Roots have been calling on all federal parties to commit to significantly more gamba control in the Top End to stop the invasive weed species spreading further across the Northern Territory and into the Kimberley or Far-North Queensland.
The Invasive Species Council works nationally to secure stronger laws, policies and programs to keep Australian biodiversity safe from weeds, feral animals and other invaders, and has long been concerned about the threat gamba poses across northern Australia. Gamba Grass Roots is a campaign to raise awareness of the threat posed by gamba grass to homes and communities, tourism and the unique Top End landscape and wildlife. The Environment Centre NT (ECNT) is the peak community sector environment organisation in the Northern Territory. All of these organisations operate in non-partisan ways and do not endorse or support any political party or candidate, but will offer commentary on policy announcements relevant to their fields of work.