Lampooned for threatening to euthanise actor Johnny Depp’s Yorkshire terriers earlier this year, federal minister Barnaby Joyce has been recognised for standing up to the Pirates of the Caribbean star and defending Australia’s tough quarantine laws.
“It might have seemed like a bit of a joke at the time but Barnaby Joyce did the right thing by enforcing Australia’s strict quarantine laws after discovering Mr Depp’s dogs Pistol and Boo had been brought into the country in an apparent breach of quarantine laws,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
Minister Joyce is among this year’s winners of the Froggatt Awards, named in honour of Australian entomologist Walter Froggatt, a lone voice in the 1930s warning of the dangers of releasing the cane toad into Australia as a control agent for beetle infestations in the sugar cane industry.
At the time Walter wrote that ‘this great toad, immune from enemies, omnivorous in its habits, and breeding all year round, may become as great a pest as the rabbit or cactus’.
“Standing up to Johnny Depp was not enough to earn a Froggatt on its own, but Minister Joyce’s award was guaranteed when he decided this month to implement new controls to limit marine biofouling on vessels arriving in Australia,” Mr Cox said.
The awards also recognise the exceptional efforts of four Queenslanders in their fight to eradicate yellow crazy ants from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
“Without the tireless efforts of Lucy Karger from the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Edmonton cane farmer Frank Teodo, James Cook University’s Dr Lori Lach and Cairns Post journalist Daniel Bateman few people would appreciate the danger posed by the highly invasive and environmentally destructive yellow crazy ant,” Mr Cox said.
Response teams also received a gong for their rapid and effective effort in eliminating red imported fire ants from Port Botany, in Sydney.
“Biosecurity NSW mobilised government staff and volunteers, oversaw extensive community education and worked closely with interstate colleagues to get sniffer dogs on the ground as soon as aggressive red imported fire ants were discovered in Sydney’s east,” Mr Cox said.
“Mop-up and surveillance operations continue but we’re very hopeful the efforts of three agencies and emergency volunteers has been successful in eradicating this incursion of red imported fire ants.”
Policy and law winner
In the policy and law category the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee has been recognised for its inquiry into environmental biosecurity and their final report.
The award recognises the committee’s insightful coverage of a complex issue and its cross-party recommendations aimed at improving Australia’s preparedness against invasive species impacting the environment.
- Senator Anne Urquhart, (Committee Chair) Australia Labor Party, Tasmania
- Senator Anne Ruston, (Committee Deputy Chair) Liberal Party, South Australia
- Senator Joe Bullock, Australian Labor Party, Western Australia
- Senator James McGrath, Liberal Party, Queensland
- Senator Lisa Singh, Australian Labor Party, Tasmania
- Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens, Queensland
- For comment contact Andrew Cox on 0438 588 040.