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Liberals Not to Be Trusted on Biosecurity

1 Feb 2018

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens’ spokesperson for Primary Industries

The Liberals’ biosecurity policy announcement today is a terrible joke made at the expense of Tasmania's farmers and growers.

First they cut biosecurity funds, then refused to adequately resource it - the State is no longer fruit fly free and our exporters face uncertain overseas markets - and now they want Tasmanians to believe they have a plan to repair the damage they caused.

The Liberals' plan to spend an extra $480,000 over four years for two biosecurity officers on King Island and Flinders Island does not stack up. This amounts to $120,000 per year, at $60,000 each officer.  

A Senior Biosecurity Inspector (Product Integrity) has recently been advertised at $68,043 to $78,457.  This isn’t even taking into account superannuation or the costs of regional deployment, let alone being the sole officer on an island.

The Liberals could barely afford one biosecurity officer with the money they have promised.

Their ‘announcement’ of one biosecurity policy is also so cynical.  We've heard it before - in 2014.

The same promise was made last term, but it was not prioritised. In the end we were left with a draft Bill that the Liberals didn’t consider important enough and shoved to the side for their highly politicised use of parliament’s time.  

When I asked Minister Rockliff in Parliament late last year where his much vaunted Biosecurity Act was, four years after it had been promised, he effectively shrugged his shoulders.

The Liberals cut funding to Biosecurity Tasmania, refused to heed calls to strengthen the agency and biosecurity responses while in office, and now have the gall to make the same empty promises they made in 2014.