Cane toads


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The Kununurra Cane Toad Working Group: (CTWG)

Meeting Minutes Wednesday 19 January 2005

Agenda item 1: Attendance:

Attendees: Dick Pasfield (OLW), Karin Carnes (NRM Biodiversity), Keith Wright (APB), Noel Wilson (DAWA), Chris Adams (SWEK), Gae Mackay (CALM), Dougie Powers (KLC), Jeff Hayley (JJJ Tours), Gordon Graham (CALM), Peter Grigg (Kununurra Tourist Centre)

By Telephone link: Scott Goodson (DoE), Marion Massam (DAWA), Bruce ? (DAWA), Winston Kaye (CALM)

Agenda item 2: Apologies:

Apologies: Brad Rushforth (CALM)

Agenda item 3: Cane Toad Groups:

3.1 National Taskforce : No further update.

3.2 Cane Toad Working Group : Local Kununurra “Action” Group. The group has formally been recognised by State Government, and will have access to some of the funding provided through the Can Toad Initiative ($600,000 allocated to DAWA, with a joint decision making body comprising CALM and DAWA). The Group will have links to the proposed State Cane Toad Advisory Group (see 3.3 below)

3.3 State Cane Toad Advisory Group : the Agricultural Protection Board first proposed this group, and its membership is still under discussion. At this stage, the group is likely to be chaired by Keith Wright (APB) and the Executive Officer will be Noel Wilson (DAWA). The proposed membership is being finalised, but it is anticipated that there will be a strong local membership (i.e. Kununurra) as well as others from Perth. The group will develop strategies for cane toads for the whole State, in anticipation of the spread of cane toads westward and south. However, the local Cane Toad Working Group will have a very active role in dealing with cane Toads in the East Kimberley, and will have strong links to the State Cane Toad group.

3.4 Federal Cane Toad Group?: The Federal Government may match the State government funding of $600,000. However, early discussions have suggested that an additional Federal group be established. The State agencies involved have opposed this, and have recommended that the Federal representatives be invited to join the State Cane Toad Advisory Group rather than establish a new one. A decision has yet to be made.

Agenda item 4: Cane Toad Initiative: $600,000 for 2004/05 financial year

In December 2005, the State Government made a $600,000 allocation for the Cane Toad Initiative. The funds have been “parked” with DAWA, and Noel Wilson has been appointed as the Project Manager for the Initiative. In line with the government decision, CALM and DAWA have joint management of the funds, and are working together to develop an appropriate plan of action. The funding will contribute towards:

  • Increased border security
  • Increased surveillance
  • Investigation and trialling of control methods for cane toads: looking at existing and developing new methods, including traps, fences etc
  • Biological survey work
  • Improving public awareness and education
  • Identification of likely cane toad habitats
  • Monitoring the spread of cane toads, and anticipating where they are likely to move next

The challenge will be to spend the $600,000 this financial year, in an appropriate and efficient manner, gaining outcomes that will have longer-term benefits. The focus will largely be in the Northern Territory, rather than WA, so that we are not waiting for the toads to arrive.

Progress to date:

  • Larry Ford has been employed as the Team leader for the control and survey team
  • 4 people have been appointed to begin work in the control and survey team.
  • The team will initially spend time in NT identifying and mapping the existing spread of toads, looking initially at the Victoria River catchment.
  • A cane toad biodiversity coordinator will work with Larry, coordinating researchers, survey work, trapping methods etc
  • One of the major tasks for the Biodiversity Coordinator will be to develop a business case to attract future funding for cane toads, on a longer-term basis.

The Federal Government may also match the State funds for 2005/06.

Agenda item 5: Cane toad forum

The Cane Toad forum, being organised by Kimberley Specialists, is scheduled for March 19 and 20, in Kununurra. Various agencies have been approached to contribute towards the cost of bringing invited presenters to Kununurra. Discussions were held during the meeting, and the preferred outcome is for the Cane Toad Working Group, to contribute towards the forum, rather than individual agencies contributing. Once the budget has been determined for the Cane Toad Initiative, an amount will be allocated to Kimberley Specialists, for the Cane Toad forum.

A suggestion that CSIRO should be invited to present at the Cane Toad forum, particularly on the area of biological control research – progress and timeframes etc.

As well, it was suggested that Federal and State Ministers should also be invited to attend.

Agenda item 6: CTWG Action Plan

The CTWG Action Plan was reviewed and updated. An updated version is attached to the minutes.

Next Meeting:

Wednesday 2 March 2005, 9 am – 11 am, KDC.


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