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Wombats - Crop Protection Permits, follow-up

22 August 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Ms COURTNEY

 

Are you aware that community groups, wildlife carers and conservation organisations point to localised extinctions of wombats at places such as narawntapu National Park? Earlier, you said two permits to shoot wombats had been issued this year. How many permits to shoot wombats are currently in place and how can you justify sanctioning killing a much-loved native animal that has been pushed to the brink of extinction?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Denison for her question. I outlined in my previous answer what the Government is doing to help support wombat populations impacted by mange. It is important to look at the evidence, and the evidence from long-term monitoring demonstrates that Tasmania's statewide wombat population is not endangered.

Long-term data from DPIPWE's annual spotlight survey has shown that wombat populations are not declining at a statewide level and statewide numbers have generally increased between 1985 and now. With this type of information and with advice from our chief veterinary officer, this is how we make decisions, whether it is with regard to targeting mange, or whether it is evidence-based crop protection permits.

We have seen in here this morning, as we see every day from the Greens, they call on evidence, they call on science, they call on due process until they do not like the answer. When they do not like the answer, they come into this place and they complain about the process, the science or the evidence. The Government will always use evidence to support our decision-making, as we do when we are looking at how we address mange and the acknowledgement that does -

 

Ms O'Connor - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I have asked the minister to inform the House how many crop protection permits to shoot wombats are currently in place? How many have been issued and are active, in total?

 

Madam SPEAKER - I will see what the minister has to say. I have no idea what is about to fall out of her mouth.

 

Ms COURTNEY - Thank you, Madam Speaker. As I was saying before, Cabinet will continue to make evidence-based decisions with regard to crop protection permits. With regard to actual permits on issue, between 2010 and 2016, the department had issued an average of 34 crop protection permits for wombats per year. In 2017, only six permits were issued and, to date, two new permits have been issued in 2018.