Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Have your say on tackling weeds in Australia's north

Media release
9 August 2011

Environment Minister Tony Burke today invited public comment on a draft plan to reduce the impact of weeds in northern Australia.

Minister Burke said the plan aims to manage the threat posed to native plants and wildlife by five introduced grass species.

The Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts on northern Australia's biodiversity by the five listed grasses includes:

  • gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus)
  • para grass (Urochloa mutica)
  • olive hymenachne (Hymenachne amplexicaulis)
  • mission grass (Pennisetum polystachion) and
  • annual mission grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum).

"We have some of the world's most unique species, and we need to protect them from the threats these weeds pose," Mr Burke said.

"These weeds stifle native plant species, resulting in the loss of native wildlife habitat and a decline in natural diversity.

"Bird species such as the Gouldian finch depend on native plant species for food, and weeds such as gamba grass take over and replace their natural food source.

"The five species targeted in the abatement plan were introduced into the country in the last century, and are not a natural part of our native bushland, they also have the potential to change the patterns and intensity of bushfires.

"The abatement plan will assist in coordinating weed management activity between government agencies, individual land managers, community members and groups.

"It will identify and prioritise key areas to protect and coordinate strategies to manage this."

Comments on the draft plan during the three-month public consultation period which closes on 21 November 2011.

For a copy of the draft threat abatement plan and information on how to make a submission, go to: