Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Ms PALMER
Eradicating weed pests is a critical tool in reducing the many pressures on our natural environment. It has been over a year since I tabled a petition on behalf of thousands of Tasmanians calling for action on the scourge of foxglove and for the plant to be declared a weed under the Weed Management Act 1999. We have also written to you multiple times. In February, you committed to a biosecurity plan going out for consultation in May this year to work to prevent the sale of foxglove in nurseries. It is now November, with no sign of action, but the weed is blooming and still being legally sold across Tasmania. We sent another letter asking for an update from you in September but you have not responded. Will you release the biosecurity plan for consultation and list foxglove as a declared weed now?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I have appreciated your correspondence over the past year around foxglove. Weed management is a responsibility that requires collaboration between all levels of government and with businesses and the broader Tasmanian community.
I am aware of requests made by you and others to list foxglove as a declared weed. Declarations of weed species are prioritised around those that present a significant risk when there is a reasonable expectation that the weed can be eradicated and/or its spread to sensitive or high-priority areas can be prevented.
The issue we have with foxglove is trying to manage a weed where eradication is almost impossible, especially when you consider that you can go to must suburbs in our communities and see it grown in gardens. Foxglove is a threat to conservation values in the state. However, foxglove is a popular garden plant, it is well established in regional gardens and widespread in the Tasmanian landscape, so it poses significant challenges for regulation. As such, it cannot be eradicated in the Tasmanian landscape.
Dr Woodruff - What a shameful response.
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Ms PALMER - With the implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2019, there are options to strategically manage foxglove and similar environmental weeds. Biosecurity Tasmania is developing a foxglove biosecurity program that aims to provide a targeted approach to protecting assets and conservation values through the establishment of specific -
Dr Woodruff - It is impossible.
Ms PALMER - I am genuinely trying to answer your question and I have information for you but I -
Dr Woodruff - How disappointing. You have not answered me since September and now you tell us you are not going to do anything.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, Leader of the Greens.
Ms PALMER - I will sit down if you do not wish to hear what I have to say. Do not waste my time.
Dr Woodruff - You can sit down if you have nothing to say to people who care about it.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, Leader of the Greens, if you continue to interject, I will ask you to leave.
Ms PALMER - I will attempt again with the one minute and 40 seconds I have left. With the implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2019, there are options to strategically manage foxglove and similar environmental weeds. Biosecurity Tasmania is developing a foxglove biosecurity program that aims to provide a targeted approach to protecting assets and conservation values through the establishment of specific biosecurity zones.
The program will also propose the restriction of sale and trade of non-sterile foxglove species. An effective management program for foxglove will require the collaboration of government, industry - including the nursery industry, and our community.