At the end of the last session of the March 2005 Cane Toad Forum in Kununurra, a draft Statement and Recommendations were presented to participants, to be accepted and used as a press release. There was general agreement to the wording, but small amendments were recommended and subsequently made. Also, it was agreed that the Statement and Recommendations should be sent to the Federal and State Government ministers for the Environment. The finalised Statement and Recommendations are presented below.
A Community and Scientific Forum on Cane Toads was held in Kununurra on the 19 th and 20th March 2005. At the Forum it was agreed that cane toads would invade Western Australia unless immediate action was taken to halt their progress, that the communities of the Kimberley did not want cane toads in the region, that every possible means of preventing the invasion by cane toads should be immediately implemented, and that control should commence from the Victoria River (NT) and not at the Western Australian border.
It was acknowledged that the ecological, economic (incl. tourism, ecosystem services), cultural (incl. lifestyle and community) and social (incl. health and family) values of the Kimberley Region, and subsequently the rest of Western Australia will be diminished by cane toads.
It was further acknowledged that loss of biodiversity would occur if cane toads invade the Kimberley Region, and that there is insufficient information on the potential impacts of cane toads to ensure proper protection of the ecological values of wetlands listed as of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; namely Lakes Argyle & Kununurra, and the Lower Ord River.
- The Kununurra Cane Toad Forum has shown that invasion by cane toads into Western Australia via the Kimberley Region will lead to irreversible loss or damage to ecological, economic, social and cultural values, and every effort must be made to prevent the advance of cane toads into Western Australia.
Given the commitment and desire of the Kimberley community to prevent cane toads reaching Western Australia, the State and Federal Governments must assist and work with the broad community in achieving their goal. This can only be achieved by halting the advance of cane toads before they reach the Western Australian border, and must be done in partnership with all levels of government and community in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Federally.
State agencies must engage the Kimberley and the broader Western Australian community in the control of cane toads, specifically; the Kimberley community and the Kimberley Cane Toad Working Group must be represented on the State Cane Toad Advisory Group.
Current funding fails to recognise the imminent threat to Western Australia’s cane toad-free status. Substantial additional and ongoing funding immediately be made available from State and Federal resources to facilitate intensive baseline monitoring of ecological values in the East Kimberley AND research, development and application of all available control measures to prevent the invasion of cane toads into Western Australia.
Furthermore, encouragement should be offered to indigenous communities and the corporate sector to support and apply their knowledge to stopping the cane toad invasion.
- The Western Australian Government support the submission to have the cane toad listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Commonwealth EPBC Act, and encourage the Federal Government to expedite this listing.
Recognise all International (World Heritage Convention, CITES convention, Convention on Biological Diversity, RAMSAR, CAMBA, JAMBA), National (National Estate, COAG; ANZECC Principles, Threatened Species and Threatened Ecological Communities legislation, Commonwealth EPBC Act) and State (National Parks and Nature Reserve policies, Wetlands Conservation Policy, State Sustainability Strategy) obligations for sustainable management of the Kimberley Region with respect to imminent impacts from cane toads. Furthermore it was recognised that strategic planning is required to consider a range of invasion scenarios.
- A biodiversity study of the Kimberley region should be funded in the medium term, but this must not detract from funding for the control of cane toads entering Western Australia.
The Western Australian Communities and scientists as represented at the forum unanimously endorsed the statements and recommendations.
NOTE: This statement does not necessarily represent the views of the government organisations some of the speakers were representing