Greens Environment spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said Commonwealth funding to the Tasmanian Fox Eradication Program has been more than halved from $2.5M in 2008-09 to just $1M in 2009-10, with the pressure now on the State to do everything in its capacity to convince the Rudd Government to reverse its dangerous decision.
“If foxes become established in Tasmania, species such as the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Pademelon and the New Holland Mouse, would face the very real threat of extinction,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, is either ignorant about the nature of the threat posed by foxes in Tasmania, or he is in denial. Either way, gutting funding to the Fox Taskforce and limiting it to an annual allocation without any certainty from year to year, is short-sighted and high-risk in the extreme.”
“The onus is now on the Tasmanian Government to present the facts to Mr Garrett. He must be told there is clear and irrefutable DNA evidence of the presence of foxes in Tasmania, the only Australian State where foxes have not become established and the only Australian State with animals such as the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and the Bettong.”
“Mr Garrett must also be told the Fox Eradication Program has engaged with and gained the respect of the wider community for its excellent work to date. The Program is now at a critical point in the eradication effort – there is still a chance for Tasmania’s wildlife - it needs more resources, not less.”
“The Greens call on Minister Llewellyn to tell his Federal colleague that it’s not good enough, and that he won’t sign the Commonwealth State Funding Agreement on foxes until a more realistic, scientifically-based funding offer is made in the best interests of Tasmania,” Ms O’Connor said.
CASSY O’CONNOR, Green Environment Spokesperson, MR
Decision to Slash Federal Funding Puts Unique Tasmanian Species at Risk of Extinction
The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the Rudd Government’s decision to place an identified 78 Tasmanian native species at risk by slashing funding to the Fox Eradication Program in one of the most short-sighted, high-risk funding decisions Federal Labor has made so far.