A PARLIAMENTARY committee report is expected to reject “conspiracy theories” that foxes do not exist in Tasmania.
The Joint Public Accounts Committee is made up of Labor and Liberal members and Upper House independents and has been inquiring into the existence of foxes for more than six months.
The committee will meet for the last time today and is expected to issue a comprehensive report later in the week, firmly concluding that foxes do exist in the state.
It comes as new allegations have emerged from a former Fox Task Force employee that fox scats were planted in the field and that other evidence has been fabricated.
Committee member and fox sceptic Ivan Dean is understood to be furious that such allegations were not given more weight by the inquiry. It is not known if he will produce a dissenting report.
Other Fox Task Force critics have accused the committee of going soft on the State Government in the lead-up to the March 20 election.
Veterinary pathologist David Obendorf said there were still too many unanswered questions.
“Evidence is everything and nine years on we are no further along than we were and millions of dollars have been thrown at this program,” Dr Obendorf said.
“Faeces is one thing but proving the existence of live foxes is quite another.
“It comes down to public confidence in the program and whether the existing program is going to work without the support of the public and farmers.”
Committee member and Liberal primary industries spokesman Rene Hidding put a rocket up the sceptics who believed fox scats had been planted.
“There are a small number of people who believe it is all rubbish, that the fox threat is a highly organised, concocted and fabricated myth and that a whole bunch of people including high-placed scientists are participating in a big swindle to maintain high salaries,” Mr Hidding said.
“Their logic of their thinking would put Osama bin Laden to shame.”
A $1000 reward, first announced 14 August 2006 by Dr David Obendorf, remains unclaimed: Details HERE
Foxes are here, says parliamentary inquiry ZOE EDWARDS
24 Dec, 2009 02:35 PM
THEY are here. A small population of foxes exist in Tasmania, a parliamentary inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s $30 million Fox Eradication Program has concluded.
Joint Standing Committee of Public Accounts chairman Jim Wilkinson said there was ``strong evidence’’ that the vermin had made its way to the state.
``As a result we need to do everything we can to make sure they are eradicated,’’ Mr Wilkinson said.
``Twenty-four native species would be in real danger if foxes were to become established.’‘
A push for Commonwealth funding to help rid the state of foxes was among 14 recommendations made by the committee.
Mr Wilkinson said fox sceptics should be comforted by the recommendation that regular peer review of the work and activities undertaken by the Fox Eradication Program must continue.
Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn welcomed the report.
“While the report is positive, a number of recommendations have been made and the State Government will consider them.
“In the meantime, the program will continue getting on with the task of eradicating foxes,” Mr Llewellyn said.