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Infrastructure and Transport - Roadkill

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tags: Roads, Native Wildlife, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, it is threatened species day today. In 2008, a UTAS and CSIRO collaboration found more than 294 000 Tasmanian native animals are killed every year by vehicles on our roads. Their estimates are likely to be far more than half a million animals a year.

This year your department budgeted $370.6 million on roads. I couldn't find any dedicated funding in the Budget for road-kill mitigation measures such as the commonly recognised ones that are effective around the world, including rope and solid overpasses, underpasses and escape routes. Many of the animals that are killed are threatened species such as the Tasmanian devil.

It appears we are not investing in these types of proven road-kill reduction measures, is that the case and if so, why aren't we?

Mr FERGUSON - Thank you, Dr Woodruff, I will pass to Ms McIntyre as General Manager of State Roads to address that issue. It is an area of concern for Government and we act very responsibly. In relation to the threatened species our record is impeccable, particularly when you look at the mitigation measures done on the causeways across Pittwater as well as the more recent work at Diana's Basin to look after nesting habitat of trees we intended to remove to stop birds from nesting in those trees, so they could seek out other ones.

Dr WOODRUFF - You have blocked our swift parrot hollows in the north east. It was abominable. It is not an untarnished record. I cannot let that go -

CHAIR - Order, Dr Woodruff, I am not going through another two hours of what we did yesterday afternoon in here. Do not speak over the top of the minister while he is trying to answer the question you have taken more than two minutes to ask.

Mr FERGUSON - Dr Woodruff, we share a regard and a concern for particularly threatened species and I would ask you to reflect on that because we really do. We do it by the law and I hope you will accept well and capably.

I ask Ms McIntyre to respond further.

Ms McINTYRE - As part of the development of all of our projects we undertake environmental assessments, heritage assessments and where we identify there are threatened species within a project scope we manage and mitigate as much as we can. Depending on the circumstances, in the case of St Helens to Diana's Basin we undertook some tree plantings and we minimised the number of trees removed. We stopped up the hollows to ensure the birds would not nest in what had been identified as potential, not necessarily nesting hollows. According to the project and the identified species, we undertake appropriate mitigation as we undertook when building some culverts for penguins on the Bruny Island Neck Project. We have undertaken some extensive mitigation measures through the Tarkine to manage the devils. We have tested the virtual fencing on parts of the network, however, our consultants have evaluated on the high-speed roads and they have not been identified as having a positive impact so, we are continuing to look at other potential measures.

Dr WOODRUFF - I do not think there was any money in the Budget spoken about specifically. The measures that have been discussed are general, but not for the hard infrastructure. I did not hear there is an allocation of money for hard infrastructure that would normally be put into roads. It is where a threatened species is identified and it has to be done because there is an environmental law that is required. In general terms, roads are not being prepared in line with trying to have a pathway for native animals moving between them so they do not end up being killed on the roads.

Ms McINTYRE - Projects are scoped and mitigation measures are identified and those types of measures would be included in projects, should they be considered to be part of a wildlife corridor and a necessary part. As I said, with the Bruny Island Neck Project we specifically built culverts to manage penguin access between the beach and the land side. Where it is identified as being an appropriate mitigation measure, we would introduce the types of infrastructure you are talking about.

Dr WOODRUFF - Are you measuring road kill?

CHAIR - I am sorry, Dr Woodruff, I am moving on to Ms White.

Ms McINTYRE - The short answer is yes, we do.