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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

18 February 2006

$79,000 for dedicated WA volunteers fighting toad menace

On-the-ground efforts to stop the spread of cane toads into Western Australia have been significantly strengthened with $79,000 in funding to the Kimberley Toad Busters from the Australian Government, announced today by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.

Kimberley Toad Busters, an East Kimberley community volunteer organisation with more than 400 community members and strong ties to local Indigenous communities, will use the funding boost to continue their critical on-the-ground and educational activities to fight the toads on the ‘western front’.

“This group is an inspiration, with volunteers from Toad Busters spending their weekends travelling over 600km throughout the Kimberley, and as far afield as Victoria River in the Northern Territory, undertaking toad busting and strategic trapping activities,” Senator Campbell said.

“The $79,000 funding announced today will support the practical work of the Kimberley Toad Busters, particularly in further engaging Indigenous communities in the region in major training exercises, collecting field data on cane toad behaviour, native frogs and other native species and purchasing all-terrain vehicles for use in toad busting work in more inaccessible and remote area.”

“Last year the Australian Government injected a further $3 million to stop the devastating march of the cane toads, taking the Commonwealth to a total commitment of more than $10 million to develop control methods and for strategic management of cane toads,” Senator Campbell said.

“The only real long term solution is to find a biological weapon so the Australian Government is investing in biological control research and is also supporting local community programs to help stop the invasive pest from causing further environmental damage.”

Federal Member for Kalgoorlie, Barry Haase MP, has welcomed the Australian Government funding for the Kimberley Toad Busters and applauded the work of the local volunteers.

“Vital on-the-ground work done by volunteers complements research into toads which is currently being undertaking and I am delighted that Kimberley Toad Busters will be able to continue and advance their activities,” Mr Haase said.

“Support like this gives heart to people on the ground and allows them to maintain their determination to stop the advance of this plague.”

The Australian Government is also working with the Northern Territory Government to limit the impact of toads in the territory, with $422,000 being provided for island biosecurity, native fauna protection, and community awareness raising.

In addition, the Australian Government has provided $40,000 from the Envirofund programme to Frogwatch North to allow them to trap cane toads in key wetland sites around Darwin.

“The Australian Government is continuing to work with the Western Australian and Northern Territory governments on the Cane Toad Management Initiative having provided $600,000 to stop toads entering Western Australia, by strengthening border controls, developing a system to quickly detect cane toads, undertaking eradication campaigns, and involving the community in this work,” Senator Campbell said.

Media Contact:
Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

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