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Research funding threat

Labor & Liberal complacency will consign devil to extinction

The Tasmanian Greens today renewed calls for increased funding to the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania and other community legal organisations.

Greens Justice spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that Labor had failed to recognise the need for increased funding and that the Abbott Government’s outrageous decision to drastically cut funding further had spun the issue into crisis.

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Liberal and Labor parties to end the blame game, and stand up for the Tasmanian devil before their negligence drives it into extinction.
Greens Member for Bass Kim Booth called on Minister Wightman to work harder to ensure the state will fully maintain the Save the Devil program and for the Federal minority Liberal government to pull out the cheque book rather than contrive a circus to save Eric Hutchinson’s job.

“If Minister Wightman really cared about saving the Tasmanian devil he would pressure the Abbott government to fund the program rather than waiting on the Greens to bring it to his attention again,” Mr Booth said.

“The Greens asked Mr Wightman in Parliament way back in October whether jobs and research at Mount Pleasant would be affected by federal cuts to the program.”

“The Minister gave the Parliament a very clear impression that jobs and research at Mount Pleasant would not be affected by these cuts, and now he’s been caught napping.”

“What we now have is the Australian Greens bringing it to his attention again three months later and unsurprisingly nothing has changed.”

“What is happening now is a three ringed circus of Mr Hutchinson, Mr Hunt and Mr Wightman all claiming they are doing something while jobs are lost and the devil dies.”

“Every day wasted with this charade is a day closer to extinction for the devil.”

“Minister Hunt must get out the cheque book that has $350 million in it for Caring for Country and restore funding rather than participating in the Devil dance of death acted out by Hutchinson to score political points.”

“At the end of the day the Federal liberals must restore funding and Minister Wightman needs to commit that no cuts will be made to jobs or research programs relating to the Tasmanian devil.”

In response to a question in the House of Assembly from Kim Booth MP, Mr Wightman on 17 October 2013 told the House of Assembly the following:

“I make the point again that the money put aside was for peninsula fencing projects.  It was not directly for scientific projects.  We will still use our money from a state level towards scientific research and all the other initiatives that we undertake.”