Skip navigation

Community speaks out against buffel, demand action to prevent catastrophe

Community members came together in a snap protest to call on the Northern Territory Government and Federal Government to act decisively on buffel, outside the front of the Member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour’s office.

About 25 protesters called for the Northern Territory Government to declare buffel grass a weed and develop holistic and strategic management approaches for buffel grass, including a buffel management plan and buffel fire mitigation policy.

Protesters also called for Federal Government action and commitment, demanding that the Commonwealth list buffel grass as a Weed of National Significance and for the Federal Government’s own 2014 scientific Buffel Grass Threat Abatement Advice to be implemented, with funding. Other actions include listing buffel grass as a stand-alone Key Threatening Process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and prioritising the environment under biosecurity arrangements.

36,000 hectares scorched in winter buffel grass fuelled wildfire

A controlled burn on Friday north of Simpson’s Gap, became out of control, burning huge parts of Tjoritja/ West MacDonnell Ranges NP, then approaching Mparntwe Alice Springs. Ash fell from the sky and the town has been consumed in grassfire smoke.

Quote from Alex Vaughan, Policy Officer, Arid Lands Environment Centre

Media contact: 0427 573 178

“This fire sends an ominous warning for the months ahead across Central Australia. Mark it in the diary, August 2023, winter, was when the 2023/24 wildfire season started”.

“Decades of NT Government neglect have put Mparntwe, remote communities and huge areas of the arid lands at risk. The events of the last few days are not a one-off, but are the culmination of decades of inaction.

“Remember that whenever buffel burns it is the first thing to come back, spreading further, putting more ecosystems at risk. It is a fire-promoting exotic species. Each rain and each fire is another chapter in the demise of Central Australia’s diverse and cherished ecosystems”

“We urgently need Federal Government coordination and funding for buffel management. List buffel as a Weed of National Significance. It is already found in every mainland state and the Northern Territory. It has the potential to spread to 70% of this continent.

“The Federal Government must implement its own 2014 Buffel Grass Threat Abatement Advice, with funding. This advice is scientifically based and comprehensive”

“The NT Government needs to declare buffel grass a weed and transform its approach to conserving and restoring the arid lands. A fire promoting buffel grass monocrop is not in the public interest, nor does it support culture, environment or economy”

“Learn from South Australia where buffel grass was declared a weed in 2015”.

“Thanks in large part to the great efforts over the weekend from firefighters, the fires appear to have been diverted from town.”

Background on buffel:

Continue Reading

Read More