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9 July, 2020

Invasive weed problem requires more funding

The Muluridji Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) have also been fighting a losing battle with Amazon Frogbit.

By Phil Brandel

In the June 17 issue of The Express, we reported that the Atherton and Granite creeks were being chocked by Amazon Frogbit an invasive weed from South America.

We can reveal that the Muluridji Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) have also been fighting a losing battle with the weed.

The MAC have been working at the top of Atherton Creek removing weeds for the past month after receiving $20,000 in funding with the help of Federal Member Bob Katter to remove the weeds from the creek.

Traditional owner and Muluridji Elder Rhonda Dooley said the funding hasn’t gone far enough.

“We only had enough money to work for about 4 weeks, that hasn’t made a big impact on the weed eradication.”

“Water is so important to us, we employed three people to work 8 hours day and with the equipment we needed, the money didn’t go very far.”

Ms Dooley said that MAC received $50,000 3-4 years ago but the weeds have grown back since then.

“We need to have more money to continue, it’s a full-time job and the weed will never be fully eradicated."

“You start removing the weeds at one end, and by the time you get to the other end it’s started growing again.”

MS Dooley also admits that it’s been difficult getting workers as lots of people don’t want to be neck-deep in cold water for eight hours a day.

“We need more money to keep it going; we are hoping to have meetings with Bob Katter and Cynthia Liu try to get funding to employ people full time to and make a real dent on the spread of the weed.”

“We need support from all the stakeholders as it’s also spread to the Granite and Atherton creeks, the Mitchell River, the Barron and Lake Tinaroo.”

MAC estimates they need about $500,000 to tackle the problem fulltime for at least three years to get the job done.

Robert Reid who lives on Atherton Creek has been trying to get the attention of several government departments about the problem without much luck for several years now.

Recently Mr Reid sat down with Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin and several other council representatives to discuss the problem. “I believe that council are now taking the matter seriously and I hope lots of people are now going to hear about this.”

“I’ve been to Bob Katter’s office and I’m hoping we can get a meeting with Bob, we have also been trying to get a meeting with local state member Cynthia Lui, as we want more action from the member for Cook regarding this problem.

“We need to fix this now, it’s an environmental hazard and the weed is spreading. Everybody is throwing their hands in the air, saying not our problem.”

A Mareeba Shire Council spokesperson said that “Council is providing letters of support to Muluridj for funding to continue the good work they have been doing.

“Furthermore, council is urging the State Government to declare frogbit as an invasive plant.”

Anyone who would like to help with clearing the creek is encouraged to email the Muluridji Aboriginal Corporation at muluridjirntbc.nth@yahoo.com

The Muluridji Aboriginal Corporation removing the weeds in Atherton Creek in May


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