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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald

15 April 2005

Government boosts fight against cane toad


The Australian Government will give a conservation group $40,000 to trap cane toads heading towards Darwin.

The funding was announced today at a Ministerial Council meeting in Darwin, by Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald and Member for Solomon, Dave Tollner.

Senator Campbell said the trapping project by Frogwatch was aimed at controlling the cane toad invasion towards Darwin.

"When cane toads arrived in Australia in the 1930s we could not have imagined the devastating impact they would have on our native species," he said.

"The Australian Government, which is represented on the National Cane Toad Taskforce, has been heavily investing in activities to address the problem. We've already provided over $5 million for a variety of research programs and promising biological control studies.

"The $40,000 Envirofund grant for Frogwatch North will help the group deliver its own innovative approach, with the installation of cane toad traps at key wetland sites near Darwin, Palmerston and Bachelor.

"These delicate ecosystems, which provide critical habitat for threatened species, will be better protected as the traps aim to capture breeding pairs of cane toads before they can colonise and destroy an area."

The Envirofund grant allows for control activities with existing trapping techniques to go ahead immediately. The project complements the Northern Territory Government's cane toad trapping competition.

Senator Macdonald said Frogwatch North will work with other community-based environmental groups on the project, highlighting the partnership approach of the Envirofund programme.

"Once traps are in place they will be monitored by on-site Landcare volunteers or other groups who are already hard at work caring for the local landscape," he said.

"It's hoped the project will help other communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and now Western Australia who are fighting the spread of this pest.

"The Australian Government Envirofund is all about local people delivering local solutions to environmental problems, with grants of up to $30,000 available to community groups for on-ground work.

"The cane toad invasion must be halted before it decimates our unique biodiversity, and Frogwatch North has risen to the challenge."

Full list of successful applicants for the second Envirofund round for 2004-05 will be announced soon. Envirofund is the community component of the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
David Crisafulli (Macdonald's office) 02 6277 7270 or 0400 144 483

Commonwealth of Australia