Image for West Coast Council’s anger over mine funds reallocation to foxes!

The 2004 Commonwealth funding offered to the West Coast Council for the Mt Lyell mine rehabilitation project - some $7 million dollars - has been taken way in 2010 by Peter Garrett and whatever’s left of it (unspent) is to be re-directed to Tasmania’s fox eradication efforts.

The impression given in the Mercury on-line article (below) was that this was State Government money getting transferred and West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity was none to happy.

“While the State Government is out and about giving money to others throughout Tasmania, they are taking it away from the West Coast,” Cr Gerrity said.

“There is no doubt there are mines in Tasmania but there is some scepticism that there are foxes. We need the money to mitigate pollution problems.”

And it wasn’t the Minister for Tasmanian fox funding, David Llewellyn that delivered this news either, it was none other than Tasmania’s real Minister for Environment, Michelle O’Byrne.

Apparently the Tasmanian Government got the heads-up letter from Peter Garrett in January 2010, not last week.

According to a press release from former Mercury journo, turned Government Media officer, Rohan Wade, Michelle O’Byrne had expressed her extreme disappointment at the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw from the Mt Lyell mine rehabilitation project. [Are Government Media staffers allowed to pump out media releases for Ministers under teambartlett.com.au Labor banner-heads during an election campaign?]

Ms O’Byrne said she had written to Federal Ministers Peter Garrett and Tony Burke asking that this decision be re-examined.

“The Bartlett Labor Government has been committed to this project, and has invested more than $1 million to date to ensure it continues. I will continue to urge the Federal Government to maintain its funding to this project.”

“There is no doubt that fox eradication in Tasmania also needs to be addressed, but it should not have happened at the expense of this rehabilitation project.”

Apparently fighting fox pollution has replaced fighting West Coast mine pollution; we can’t have both!

But I want to know how much of this budgeted $7 million announced when John Howard was still PM and Turnbull wasn’t even the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment remains unspent in 2010? 

Is it ‘virtual’ funds for ‘virtual’ foxes…‘Claytons’ funds for ‘Claytons’ foxes?

ABC news reported Michelle O’Byrne saying the Federal Government considered the Mt Lyell remediation method as ‘controversial’, and that’s why they withdrew their funding. 

I wonder whether Peter Garrett had thought about how ‘controversial’ his rebadging of this funding was.

Tally-ho Pete!

Fox funding angers West
Helen Kempton, Mercury

THE West Coast community is angered by a decision to redirect funds from the Mt Lyell mine clean up to Fox Eradication.

West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity said a letter from Environment Minister Michelle O’Byrne’s office has confirmed that the $7 million left in the Mt Lyell Remediation Project coffers would be taken away to fund the hunt for foxes in Tasmania.

The remediation funds were to have been used to divert acid drainage from clean water at the mine and to construct a treatment plant to clean up water in the Queen River.

“While the State Government is out and about giving money to others throughout Tasmania, they are taking it away from the West Coast,” Cr Gerrity said.

“There is no doubt there are mines in Tasmania but there is some scepticism that there are foxes.

“We need the money to mitigate pollution problems.”

The original $9 million set aside for the Mt Lyell Remediation Project was given by both the State and Federal governments.

Some money has already been spent but more than $7 million remained.

But Ms O’Byrne said the money had been redirected by the Federal Government, not the State, and she had written to Canberra to express her concerns.

Read more HERE

Meanwhile, In the last decade, the likelihood of seeing a European Red Fox in certain ‘hotspots’ around the state has increased considerably. Togatus’ Kim Burley explores their sly invasion into Tasmania. Togatus, HERE