Gamba Action Program closing soon

This year’s Gamba Action Program (GAP) is coming to an end but there is still time and limited herbicide stocks left.

The GAP provides free herbicide and equipment loans to rural residents to help manage gamba grass on their properties and is delivered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Weed Management Branch.

Gamba grass is a declared weed that was initially introduced to the Territory in the 1930s as a pasture grass, but has since proven to be highly invasive, creating high fuel loads that can lead to hot, intense fires that may place people and property in danger.

Weed Management Branch Manager Compliance and Planning, Roni Opden, said more than 1300 people had already accessed the GAP this year.

“Gamba weed spraying is happening all over the Darwin rural area, and we’re seeing great results,” Ms Opden said.

“Gamba grass is best treated when it is actively growing between November and April, so the crucial time for treating gamba grass is fast running out. The grass will be flowering soon and then spreading seed.”

Ms Opden said there is still room for improvement by some rural residents, with weed officers inspecting more than 200 properties in Darwin’s rural area since November last year and issuing over 100 orders to undertake gamba grass control.

“We have led a community awareness program regarding the requirement for gamba grass management and prevention of its spread for many years with free herbicide and equipment loans provided to the community every wet season since 2010,” Ms Opden said.

“Where management doesn’t occur we see increased loads of dry and highly flammable grass during the following Dry Season.

“That’s why everyone who is issued with an order is also offered free herbicide and spray equipment through the GAP.

“Landholders can drop into one of our nine GAP outlets across the Top End, to pick up what they need to manage their gamba grass. Outlets can be accessed at Freds Pass Reserve and the Territory Wildlife Park, and in Batchelor, Marrakai, Milne, Dundee, Katherine and Wagait Beach.”

Under the Weeds Management Act, property owners and occupiers are required to manage or eradicate gamba grass on their property according to the zone* in which the property is located. Some landholders are required to eradicate gamba, while others are required to install 15m gamba-free buffers around property boundaries, driveways and infrastructure, or as instructed.

The Weed Management Plan for Gamba Grass clearly articulates management requirements.

Information on the Gamba Action Program is available at www.nt.gov.au/gamba

A picture of the Gamba Grass Action vehicle amongst Gamba Grass

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