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“Common sense and best practice”, Federal Labor candidate commits to declaring buffel grass a Weed of National Significance

Labor Candidate for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour has announced major policy commitments to better protect Central Australia’s landscapes and threatened species, through improved management of buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). The Labor candidate committed via a survey on the issue conducted by the Letters for the Environment Central Australia (see Appendix A).

The Labor candidate has committed to:

  • Listing buffel grass as a Weed of National Significance
  • Listing buffel grass under EPBC Act as a Specific Invasive Taxa Key Threatening Process
  • Developing a Threat Abatement Plan
  • Implementing the Federal Government’s own Threat Abatement Advice which was developed in 2014.

The Labor candidate’s position is matched by Independent Candidate for Lingiari Michael Gravener, Independent Candidate for Lingiari Imelda Adamson Agars and Blair McFarland from the Northern Territory Greens. Candidates from the Country Liberal Party, Citizens Party, United Australia Party, Liberal Democrats and One Nation did not respond to the survey. 

Quotes attributed to Jade Kudrenko, ALEC General Manager: 

“These commitments by the Labor Party, NT Greens and Independents in Lingiari are significant. These regulatory changes are common sense and best practice to addressing problematic weeds which are contributing to substantial decline in ecological, cultural, social and economic values”. 

“After decades of inaction and the buffel grass crisis worsening, it is the first time ever that major Federal political parties have recognised that we need to better manage buffel to protect Central Australia’s unique biodiversity and landscapes”. 

“It is a transformer of landscapes where it outcompetes native grasses, while promoting hotter and more intense wildfires that destroy shrubs, trees and special places. You can see its devastating impacts where it has monocropped entire landscapes.” 

Quotes attributed to Jacqueline Arnold, Administrator for Letters for the Environment Central Australia:

“It is exciting that so many candidates have committed to high level action to manage the threat of  buffel grass invasion.”

“There are so many people across Australia and in Lingiari who are very, very worried about buffel grass invasion.  Territorians respect and understand the importance of healthy country.  We have been watching our special central Australian plants and animals disappear because of buffel grass taking over.  Not to mention the fire risk.”

“This election the community has come together and let candidates know we will no longer tolerate an absence of leadership and inaction.  We will not  stand by and watch country die.  We have drawn a line.  We will be heard.  Thank you to the candidates who have listened and responded.”

Quotes attributed to Alex Vaughan, Policy Officer at the Arid Lands Environment Centre

“These commitments ensure that for some of the major political parties at the Federal Government level, buffel grass will be managed in a similar way to other problematic and fire-promoting weeds such as gamba grass.” 

“It is a step-change that is urgently needed as buffel grass invasion continues to expand across Central Australia. National leadership is critical on an issue that is having devastating impacts upon the environment”. 

“these commitments are exciting as they focus on the holistic management of buffel grass. We need an integrated approach, building the funding, research and resourcing capacity. That is exactly what these policy commitments are designed to do.”

“People across Central Australia have been toiling away trying to remove buffel grass for decades. It is really exciting that major political parties are recognising that the Federal Government should be showing leadership and playing a key role in buffel grass management alongside the Central Australian community and organisations”. 

Enquiries: Jade Kudrenko, General Manager, Arid Lands Environment Centre, 8952 2497, [email protected]

About Arid Lands Environment Centre

The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) is central Australia's peak environmental organisation that has been advocating for the protection of nature and growing sustainable communities in the arid lands since 1980. ALEC works regionally and on a wide range of issues including climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity conservation, food and water security and fracking. 


Appendix A: Letters for the Environment Central Australia survey results

Letters for the environment Lingiari 2022 federal election candidate position

Via their Facebook post, Letters for the Environment Central Australia, stated that “Candidates with x have actively (media statements) or passively (no response) chosen the 'do nothing' approach.”

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