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Buffel Weed Declaration Petition to Minister Worden

Buffel grass is not yet considered a weed in the Northern Territory. It is the Northern Territory Environment Minister's responsibility to make a weed declaration. The Buffel Grass Technical Working Group will hand its findings to the Minister by 30th November 2023.

Join the call for a Territory response to the buffel grass invasion.

Buffel grass threatens ecosystems, culture, public safety and the economy across the Northern Territory.

We are in the worst fire season in over a decade. Buffel grass has a high fuel load, burns readily, and is the first to come back after fire.

For those living in Mparntwe Alice Springs, out on homelands and remote communities, we have seen buffel spread over decades drastically reducing the Centre’s biodiversity. Many places have become overgrown by buffel grass. We are faced with an increased threat as uncontrolled fires burn, damaging our landscape and homes. Trees that are hundreds of years old are burning.

Buffel grass is the greatest invasive species threat to country and culture. As the Indigenous Protected Areas Ranger Statement 2021 (Umuwa) states 

‘We the First Nations people of the desert did not bring Buffel grass to this land. But it is here and it is killing our country and threatening our communities and culture’.

Many people, including Aboriginal ranger groups, have been working to raise awareness and mitigate the threat of this weed for decades.

Our tourism sector and financial ecosystem continues to be severely impacted. From Uluru and Kata-Tjuta to Watarrka, Tjoritja / West MacDonnell Ranges and the Lhere Pirnta /Finke River, buffel grass is severely degrading cultural sites, livelihoods and landscapes.

The extent of buffel’s spread is yet to be realised or mapped. Buffel grass is a threatening process for many species, such as Slater's desert skink, the black footed wallaby and the iconic MacDonnell Ranges cycad.

Buffel grass must be properly managed. The pathway to this is declaring buffel grass A/B weed under the Weeds Management Act 2001

A class A/B Weed Declaration is a key step forward towards better buffel management.

Will you sign?

Dear Minister for the Environment NT, Kate Worden,

We are people who care for the arid lands, including people who live in Central Australia. We know first hand the devastating impacts of the buffel grass invasion. It is choking our rivers and suffocating desert ecosystems.

Buffel grass through its invasive spread and fire prone nature, threatens ecosystems, culture, public safety and the economy across the Northern Territory.

Buffel grass must be properly managed. The pathway to this is under the Weeds Management Act 2001. We expect you to list buffel grass as a class A/B weed across the Territory under the Weeds Management Act 2001. 

Class A - (a) is necessary to eradicate the plant - for areas of critical ecological and cultural importance and areas that are not already heavily invaded

Class B - (b) is necessary to prevent the growing and spreading of the plant - for all other land tenures in the NT

We know the impact of buffel grass can be mitigated, and its spread can be slowed. We have seen the results where native vegetation, and special places do come back through dedicated rehabilitation and land management.

The scale of the buffel grass invasion needs action at both Territory and Commonwealth levels. The cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of managing this issue.

A class A/B weed declaration for all forms of land tenure is a key step forward to better buffel management in the Territory.

We trust you will hear us and work with us. 




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