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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14427

Dr GILLESPIE (Lyne) (12:53): On behalf of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy, I present the committee's report entitled Cane toads on the march: inquiry into controlling the spread of cane toads, together with the minutes of proceedings.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Dr GILLESPIE: by leave—I am pleased to present Cane toads on the march, the report of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy's inquiry into controlling the spread of cane toads. Cane toads are a scourge on our land and native wildlife, and unfortunately there is no easy solution to get rid of them. But the federal, state and territory governments can work better to limit their numbers where they exist and, most importantly, to prevent them from invading the parts of Australia that remain untouched.

At one major frontline of the cane toad invasion, the committee has recommended funding for the modification of artificial water sources such as troughs and dams to prevent cane toads spreading from the Kimberley into the Pilbara and further into Western Australia. And I note this occasion of luck: there is a short 70-kilometre strip of land whose only available water source is man-made troughs and dams. That lends itself to constructing a physical waterless barrier which would prevent the march of the cane toads further south.

The committee has also recommended a suite of other measures for the Australian government, the states and the territories to pursue together to combat this pest. These include: funding projects for cane toad tadpole trapping and for suppressing cane toad eggs from hatching by using chemicals extracted from the dying cane toads themselves; funding further research from CSIRO, universities and other bodies in new biological control methods and including trials of those identified methods; improved measures to protect coastal islands from cane toads, just as we want to prevent them from spreading into the larger reaches of Western Australia—and isolating and maintaining a barrier from cane toads getting onto our islands is equally important; and, most importantly, better cooperation with landholders, traditional owners and volunteer groups, new cooperative planning and monitoring efforts, and an expedited review of the National Cane Toad Threat Abatement Plan.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank the scientists in the community and the environmental groups, who have done so much already, and everyone who has contributed their knowledge and work to an extensive compendium of knowledge about this terrible pest in our nation. In particular, I thank the secretariat, for their wonderful help to the committee members, and those who made a submission. I commend the report to the House.