The Election, Conservation & Everything: transformer species

To: Debbie Lustig <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: The Election, Conservation & Everything: transformer species
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2013 09:13:31 +0930
Hi Debbie

My concern is not threatened species but transformer weeds such as Gamba
Grass (Andropogon gayanus) that threaten to add greatly to the number of
threatened species.

Gamba grass, a 4 m. giant is fast turning woodland and other habitats to
monocultural grassland from Darwin to Katherine and in to Kakadu.  It's
already occupying large tracts in Litchfield NP and I'm told that rangers
there now spent much of their time trying to eradicate it from around the
plateau and waterfalls.

Gamba grass threatens countless taxa from cyads and native grasses to a
range of reptiles and avifauna such as Gouldian Finch and Partridge Pigeon.

The NT Government cannot eradicate gamba grass and it's now expected of
property owners to clear their properties with Glyphosate. However, from
what I've seen many owners can't or won't control it (some because they
blame Government for introducing it).  Although there is legislation
allowing for the prosecution of such people, not one has occurred, according
to the public servant putting together the new Gamba management plan.

I'm told that property owners and managers of cattle stations are refusing
weed mapping on their properties fearing that land infested with gamba grass
will be unsaleable.

I've seen on my property what gamba grass can do, and we've now contained
it, for the time being.  But the next door neighbours have cultivated a fine
crop.  If it burns so will all the pandanus in the vicinity (Pandanus
spiralis goes up like a bomb, even in torrential rain - quite spectacular!).
And the resulting updraft from gamba and pandanus alone will result in
seeds, and possibly fire, being further widespread.

I approached local Greens about gamba.  They know it well - one lady told
how fireworks set fire to gamba in the vicinity of her place.

However, it seems the Green focus is on fracking.  Is fracking as bigger
threat to the natural environment as the transformer  weeds?  I doubt it.
 After talking with the Greens the first line of the Serenity Prayer came to

God grant me the serenity to
Accept the things I cannot change;

I know many who have a similar attitude to climate change.

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 71,  Darwin River,
NT 0841
043 8650 835

On 3/9/13 7:38 AM, "Debbie Lustig" <> wrote:

> For what it's worth, I would ask people to read the letter on this blog
> (address below) and send it to their local candidates, and to the Minister
> for the Environment and to the Shadow Minister for the Environment. It asks
> the recipient to state what their party will do to ensure threatened species
> aren't lost (in a nutshell).
> If - by some miracle - someone writes back with anything but spin, please
> share it here. 
> The next government may well preside over at least one extinction in the
> wild. I would suggest it's time to get together and become more effective
> lobbyists.  We've got nothing to lose and several bird species to lose.
> Here's a few words from our future environment minister, Greg Hunt, provided
> to me. I make no comment.
> "Under Labor there has been a lack of focus on outcomes when it comes to
> protecting Australia's threatened and endangered species.  Plenty of plans
> have been produced, but too often they have sat on shelves.  Our goal is to
> put a greater emphasis on ensuring that programs deliver - that we can
> reduce the number of species which are threatened and endangered.  This is
> the direct and practical approach the Coalition takes to environmental
> management.
> The Threatened Species Commissioner would be an appointment within the
> Department and funded from within the Department.
> There would be three roles for the Commissioner:
> *         Preparation of Threatened Species Plans
> *         Implementation of Threatened Species Plans
> *         Monitoring such plans
> It is about ensuring practical leadership on outcomes.  At the moment there
> is a lack of doing - plenty of planning - but little action and all the time
> the number of endangered and threatened species increases."
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