By ERWIN CHLANDA
Parks and Wildlife Minister Bess Price (pictured) this week described the Northern Territory’s national parks and reserves as “invaluable” and called for their continued protection for the health and well-being of all Territorians.
But she is doing nothing to stem the take-over of buffel – declared a noxious weed in South Australia – in the very parks she is responsible for.
Eminent botanists including Peter Latz have repeatedly warned of the risk that large tracts will become a mono culture – all buffel – to the detriment of the wide range of flora which is part of The Centre’s appeal.
Mrs Price relegated a response to our questions to a spokesperson, who emailed: “The Parks and Wildlife Commission NT managed buffel grass in national parks and reserves to protect infrastructure from fire and in areas with high biodiversity value.
“PWCNT had spent more than $52,000 on weed control so far this financial year, not including staff and vehicle costs.
“The spokesperson said it should also be acknowledged that buffel grass provided valuable pasture for cattle producers in Central Australia and was used to mitigate erosion.”
A media release for Mrs Price says she “told an Estimates Committee hearing that the NT’s parks and reserves included some of the Territory’s most majestic natural, cultural, historical and recreational assets … while it was possible to put a dollar figure on the economic value parks provided to our tourism industry, it was not possible to put a dollar figure on the true value of the Territory’s parks and reserves.”
Buffel inaction makes mockery of parks hype
By ERWIN CHLANDA