Cane toad biosecurity zone proposed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries

BELLINGEN Shire will be included in a new cane toad biosecurity zone proposed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

The proposed cane toad biosecurity zone would include all NSW local government areas, except those where cane toads already infest - Tweed, Byron, Lismore and Ballina LGAs and eastern parts of Richmond Valley, Kyogle and Clarence Valley LGAs.

The cane toad discussion paper proposes a biosecurity zone, which will help prevent the spread and establishment of cane toads beyond their current distribution.

Proposed regulatory measures which would apply within the biosecurity zone include requirements for landholders to notify authorities of the presence of cane toads, to destroy cane toads on their land and prohibiting people moving, keeping or releasing cane toads.

Current legislation requires that anyone who comes in contact with or otherwise deals with cane toads to ensure biosecurity risks are prevented, eliminated or minimised across NSW.

Cane toads are toxic at all stages of their life cycle and their ingestion can be lethal to native predators such as quolls, snakes and goannas. Cane toads have been linked to local declines and extinctions of native predators in the Northern Territory and Queensland, the discussion paper says.

They can also affect a wide range of fresh water and terrestrial ecosystems through predation on native species in these environments. 

Currently most of NSW is free of cane toads although they have the potential to spread and become establish along the NSW coast as far south as Sydney.

NSW DPI is seeking input from the public on two new regulatory proposals aimed at better managing the biosecurity risks posed by cane toads as well as new pest animal incursions.

DPI Deputy Director General Biosecurity and Food Safety, Bruce Christie, said recent incursions of non-native pest animal species in NSW, including Asian black-spined toads, hedgehogs, snakes and turtles required prompt management action.

“These non-native animal species have the potential to seriously impact on our environment and can introduce exotic diseases, which could impact on our economy, environment and way of life,” Mr Christie said.

“We want to ensure that reporting of high-risk exotic animals is made as early as possible so biosecurity risks of new pest animal incursions from intentional trafficking, stowaways, or other means, can be managed efficiently and effectively.”

A second discussion paper outlines a proposal to further improve the way NSW manages new pest animal incursions.

Submissions on the discussion papers close Friday, April 27, 2018.