Where is Michael Gunner on gamba?
The NT Budget was released by Chief Minister and Treasurer Michael Gunner last week. You’d think that would be a great moment to give the community certainty about the Gamba Army for the years ahead.
Instead, no news at all.
There’s barely any mention of weeds – though we’ve found out that there is some funding for the other parts of the gamba response, including mapping gamba outbreaks and the bushfire unit they’ve announced before. It’s great to see these funded. But even combing the detailed budget papers, we can’t find a single reference to the Gamba Army, and not a single dollar.
Meanwhile, the big Wet season has meant more gamba growth. We’ve heard from locals in Batchelor, Adelaide River, across the rural area and even as far south as Tipperary Station – gamba is on the march again. The big gamba fires are already starting. It’s a big worry.
The Gamba Army was an excellent start to practical action and its work complements the new gamba 10 year plan. It was building an experienced crew of people, working with local community groups to get maximum bang for its buck. People are excited about it, too – more than 30 people joined us just this Saturday at Humpty Doo for a talk with the Gamba Army. It’s a great model that should be built on.
Instead, we’re in this disappointing limbo – where a successful, popular gamba action program has attracted support from across the community and the Government, but there isn’t confirmed funding for it to continue. Our community isn’t going anywhere, Territorians are already seeing the first gamba fuelled fires of the season and if the Government misses this opportunity the calls for more action will only grow louder.
We’re going to keep pushing for more resources to be put behind gamba control for the months and years ahead, and hopefully we’ll be able to confirm with you soon that there’s more funding for the Gamba Army on its way. We’ll also keep building power in local communities and taking the case for gamba action to the pollies, along with you.
So many of you have written to NT Government Ministers, asking for them to give gamba action the funding, people and time it needs. Thank you. We’re part of the way there.