Territory residents and leading invasive species experts are calling on all federal Australian political parties to commit to funding that will tackle Gamba grass – one of the greatest threats facing iconic landscapes, native plants and animals in the Northern Territory.
Gamba grass fuels worse, more dangerous fires – threatening homes, livelihoods and iconic places like Kakadu National Park.
The Invasive Species Council and Gamba Grass Roots say significantly more Gamba control is needed 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 have recognised the threat gamba poses across northern Australia.
“Gamba grass is the worst of the worst, the triffid of the plant world. It’s imperative that we see federal funding allocated towards stopping Gamba spread – to supplement and support the work already started by the NT Government,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
“Gamba grass has been recognised as a weed of national significance and is one of the greatest threats to environments across northern Australia. It can grow up to four metres high and fuels hotter, more intense and dangerous fires.”
The groups say at least $9.8 million in funding will be required over four years, which includes the creation of an additional 30 jobs to support the successful Northern Territory’s ‘Gamba Army’.
“Gamba control is labour intensive but with targeted funding and effort it will be possible to contain its spread to the Darwin and Katherine area and eradicate this weed elsewhere. The increased efforts of the Northern Territory Government have been commendable, however, we need to see the addition of targeted federal support to ensure this is achieved,” said Mitch Hart, NT Manager for the Pew Charitable Trusts.
“We are calling on all sides of federal politics to outline their plans to deliver adequate funding that will have a real impact on tackling Gamba grass to protect northern Australia from dangerous Gamba fueled fires. We must ensure that amazing tourism assets like Kakadu National Park and the unique landscapes of northern Australia are protected – now and into the future,” said Mr Hart.