GAP Closing Soon

This year’s Gamba Action Program (GAP) is set to close later this month.

This year’s Gamba Action Program (GAP) is set to close later this month.

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 Operations and Compliance, Roni Opden, said more than 1700 people had already accessed the GAP this year.

“The crucial time for treating gamba grass is fast running out,” Ms Opden said.

“The grass will be flowering soon and then spreading seed.

“This year’s GAP is scheduled to finish with its final day on 28 April, unless stocks run out sooner, which is very likely given how proactive rural residents have been in making use of the GAP this year.”

Ms Opden said there is still room for improvement by some rural residents however, with weeds officers inspecting more than 120 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.

“Gamba grass is best treated when it is actively growing between November and April.

“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.

“Residents in Darwin’s rural area can drop into Freds Pass Sport and Recreation Reserve at Bees Creek from 7.30am to 10.30am and from 2.30pm to 5.30pm, Monday and Friday, to pick up what they need to manage their gamba grass.

“The Freds Pass outlet will also be open every Saturday from 8am to midday through April.”

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.

The Weed Management Plan for Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass) clearly articulates management requirements.

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

Media Note – For more information / interview call regional weed management officer Thomas Price on 89994554.

*Gamba grass management zones

Eradication Zone (Class A) – gamba grass must be eradicated, this area is outside of the area defined in the Management Zone.

Management Zone (Class B) – the growth and spread of gamba grass must be managed, this area includes: the NT coastline in the north, the western boundary of Kakadu National Park in the east, the town of Katherine in the south and the Daly River mouth in the west.  This includes the Darwin rural area.

Refer to the Weed Management Plan for Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass) at www.nt.gov.au/gamba

Last updated: 23 May 2018