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GAMBA ARMY

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Gamba Army Coordinator Rowena Eastick (in PPE) with team members Angelina Trnka, Russel O'Regan, Haiden Delaney-Phillips and Hamish Clark

GAMBA ARMY

Territory NRM will continue the strategic work to curb the spread of gamba grass after the Northern Territory Government recently announced a further $500,000 towards the Gamba Army, building on the initial $500,000 and the success from the 2020-21 season. This will enable vital follow-up spraying on areas treated in the first year of the program, and further extend activities to new areas in the 2021-22 wet season. The Gamba Army will also continue to provide jobs and support for local businesses.

The Department of Environment, Parks and Water Resources (DEPWS) Weed Management Branch and Territory NRM are working in partnership to deliver the Gamba Army to combat this invasive Weed of National Significance.

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GAMBA Grass infestation

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Where would you deploy the GAMBA Army?

 

If you were able to deploy your own Gamba Army for a week, what one area would you prioritise for spraying?

Message us now to let us know your priority site.

The program aims to protect biodiversity and conservation areas, reduce fire risk in high use community and recreational spaces, and ‘keep clean areas clean’, complementing existing land manager weed control efforts. Initial priorities last season were conservation areas, namely Charles Darwin National Park, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Knuckey Lagoons Conservation Area, and Litchfield National Park. Selection of subsequent sites progressed to ensure that tenures which adjoined these conservation areas, were also managing their gamba grass to minimise seed introduction. Sites were also selected which had benefits to the community, including Indigenous communities, sporting clubs, and tourist areas. The Gamba Army will ensure the efforts from 2020-2021 are reinforced by conducting follow-up spraying across these sites, encompassing more than 760 hectares, across more than 50 parcels of land.

A strength of the Gamba Army is the ability to work across land tenures, facilitating management across a geographic block rather than aligned with individual land managers. Territory NRM and the Weed Management Branch at DEPWS are working with a range of major land managers and contractors, including Parks and Wildlife, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, BushfiresNT, NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Defence, Litchfield and Palmerston City Councils, as well as community groups, to combine and share knowledge on gamba grass in the Greater Darwin area. This will facilitate cross tenure management and identify additional priority areas for the Gamba Army for the 2021-22 wet season.

TNRM will provide ongoing information including the mapping and monitoring of Gamba Army activities and outcomes.

GAMBA ARMY - ONGROUND ACTIVITIES

The Gamba Army is currently conducting gamba grass management activities across a number of sites in the Darwin urban and rural area. Follow-up spraying on the sites treated last season (2020-21) is an initial priority. See the figure below for more information on these sites, including Charles Darwin National Park, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Knuckey Lagoons, Darwin Clay Target Fields, Minmarama Park, Howard Springs Pine Forest, and many more.

Collaboration and communication between land managers, weed contractors, and community is key to enabling cost-effective gamba grass management. The Gamba Army has commenced spraying across a number of different parcels already this season, informed by stakeholder engagement and a transparent prioritisation process, and will continue to identify strategic areas for gamba grass management with ongoing stakeholder consultation.

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GAMBA ARMY Q&A's

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What jobs will be created with the GAMBA Army?

There will be employment opportunities for a mix of roles including casual teams that work directly with Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM), and other groups such as rangers and contractors.

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What is the cost of the GAMBA Army Project?

TNRM is delivering the $500,000 Gamba Army component of the NT Government’s approach to Gamba management (please refer to NTG for more details on other components).

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The Gamba Army will be a mixed workforce who can optimise available periods for weed control, based on factors such as rainfall, access, and the Gamba grass growth stage. The project aims to support local business as well as develop workers for the Gamba Army, and as contractors take up additional opportunities, they may need to increase their workforce to meet demand.

Why are you using commercial companies as part of the GAMBA Army project?

Why are you using commercial companies as part of the GAMBA Army project?

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Are the GAMBA Army jobs full-time or casual?

There will primarily be casual work available during the spray season as hours are determined by weather and stage of growth of the Gamba grass. TNRM will coordinate people on the ground to meet varying requirements.

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What training will the GAMBA Army workers receive?

They will receive training in the safe application of herbicides, weed identification, and work health and safety procedures, including required PPE.

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What type of work is being done as part of the GAMBA Army project?

Background work has been completed including identification of priority sites and assessment of timeframes and resource allocation. The main activities of the Gamba Army teams are on-ground control, primarily the spraying of herbicide.

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When did TNRM begin the work on the GAMBA Army project?

The background work commenced in October as well as stakeholder engagement. On-ground work started on Monday 7 December 2020.

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What chemical/s are being used in the spraying of GAMBA grass?

The herbicide to be sprayed is glyphosate. Glyphosate is registered in Australia for use to control a wide variety of leafy weeds. It does so by inhibiting the activity of a plant-based enzyme which is not found in humans. Glyphosate has been approved for use in Australia and is safe when applied in accordance with the label’s directions. (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

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Where will spraying of GAMBA grass occur?

Initial priority sites have been identified and include the conservation areas of Charles Darwin National Park, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, and parts of Litchfield National Parks. Additional areas are being considered in discussion with key stakeholders (NT Parks and Wildlife – Weeds Management Branch, NTG Crown Land Estate Office, Bushfires NT).

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How do the public know if there is spraying in their neighbourhood?

Notification of spray activities, including dates and locations, will be updated on the TNRM website and Facebook page. Public Signage will be displayed at sites during spraying.

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