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Northern Territory Government takes key step in Buffel Grass management by pledging $750,000 annually

Today the Northern Territory Government has announced commitment to buffel grass management. Environmental organisations the Arid Lands Environment Centre and the Invasive Species Council welcome the explicit steps taken to improve the management of the highly invasive, flammable grass.

Minister for the Environment, Kate Worden pledged $1million towards invasive grasses management ahead of the 2024 Budget - acknowledging the severe fire risk posed by buffel grass. Buffel Grass is spreading rapidly across the arid lands. It is a key threat to biodiversity with the capacity to invade up to 68% of the continent.

Comment by Alex Vaughan, Policy Officer, Arid Lands Environment Centre

“Today the Northern Territory Government has recognised the devastating impacts of buffel grass invasion across Central Australia. Buffel is fuelling larger and more frequent wildfires which are transforming entire landscapes.”

"Buffel fuelled wildfires affect all stakeholders, they put lives at risk and significantly impact the environment, culture, health, tourism, the arts, land managers and emerging economies."

"This is a clear signal that there are major opportunities to improve buffel grass management across the Territory, including by mapping its spread and distribution. We hope that we can work strategically to stop the spread of buffel grass into new areas."

"This announcement must be supported by a strong weed declaration across the Territory, where the Northern Territory joins South Australia who declared buffel grass a weed in 2015. A Territory weed declaration will enable the Commonwealth to boost this initial investment by the Territory Government and focus on preventing new extinctions across the arid lands.”

Comment by Jack Gough, Advocacy Director Invasive Species Council

“Buffel grass is one of the worst invasive threats to the environment and culture of Central and Northern Australia. It is great news to finally see some action from the Northern Territory Government to address this.

“As buffel spreads it pushes out native grasses, reduces food for our wildlife and drives more extreme fires, like those in Alice Springs last year.

“The next step must be for the NT to follow South Australia’s lead and declare buffel grass to be a weed to ensure it is no longer deliberately spread.”

The Invasive Species Council and the Arid Lands Environment Centre joined over 50 organisations in a multi-sector open letter calling for Minister Worden to declare buffel grass a weed across the Northern Territory, recognising the impact it has on public safety, culture, environment, health and economic diversity.

For Further Comment:

Alex Vaughan Policy Officer Arid Lands Environment Centre  0427 573 178

Jack Gough Advocacy Director Invasive Species Council 02 8006 5004

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