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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
13 July 2006
The volunteer group at the front line of the fight to stop cane toads crossing into Western Australia has been given an extra $225,000 by the Australian Government for more equipment, training and supplies.
The funding for the Kimberley Toad Busters was announced today by the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, when he handed over a 4WD vehicle and two quad bikes to the Kununurra-based group.
Senator Campbell said the grant would ensure the group was equipped to operate at maximum capacity for at least the next two years. It received $79,000 federal funding in February this year to buy outback vehicles and employ three indigenous experts in cane toad field work.
"The Toad Busters is a dedicated, effective organisation that is at the front line of this battle," Senator Campbell said.
"This money will get the group additional all-terrain vehicles, trailers and other essential equipment and supplies such as fuel, cookers and camping gear for the army of volunteers who devote their weekends to helping stop cane toads crossing into the Kimberley from the Northern Territory.
"Each weekend it costs volunteers about $1200 for fuel and food to make the 300 km return trip from Kununurra across the border to the front line. This funding ensures those costs will be met for the next two years and will support the employment of indigenous people who are coordinating much of the field work and mobilising indigenous communities to join the team."
Senator Campbell said the Kimberley Toad Busters exemplified the potency of committed community groups. It had almost 800 members, had trained 180 as team leaders and captured about 14,000 adult toads and tens of thousands of tadpoles since last September.
"The work by community groups to mitigate the spread of cane toads is an important part of the Australian Government's overall strategy to wipe out the menace - it engages communities, stems the toads' spread and cuts their numbers around key environmental areas," he said.
"But only a scientific response through a biological solution will deliver the knock-out blow that's needed. This is why most of the $10 million-plus invested in cane toad programs by the Howard Government is concentrated on laboratory work."
Senator Campbell said research programmes aimed at long-term solutions were being funded at CSIRO, Sydney University, Townsville's James Cook University and Darwin's Charles Darwin University.
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Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902