Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT and PARKS, Mr JAENSCH
There are fewer than 1000 breeding pairs of the world's fastest parrot - the critically endangered swift parrot - left in the wild. It is essential we protect every nest hollow and flowering gum that they need to survive. Their biggest threat is habitat and food loss from illegal land clearing and native forest logging, as well as predation by the sugar glider.
The previous failed environment minister, Matthew Groom, refused to be an active state party member to the national swift parrot recovery plan and did not act to stop habitat destruction, or fund protection activities. Are we still even a party to the swift parrot recovery plan? If we are, what is this year's resourcing towards it, and when will you announce a native forest logging ban for Bruny Island and the other southern and south-eastern forests that have to be protected to save that special parrot?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question about the swift parrot. The population size of the swift parrot is very difficult to assess. It is estimated, as I understand and am advised, to be about 2500, with perhaps only 1000 breeding pairs.
In response to the numerous threats faced by the species, the Tasmanian Government is implementing a whole-of-government approach to ensure that management of the swift parrot habitat in this state is consistent and effective. This will build on actions that we have undertaken previously to address threats to the swift parrot and its habitat. We have provided $150 000 to trial methods of trapping sugar gliders, a major threat to the birds.
Dr Woodruff - That was in 2015. That was five years ago.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, please.
Mr JAENSCH - This project has been successfully completed. The findings have enabled NRM South to leverage $700 000 of Australian Government funding for further swift parrot conservation work over the next three years.
In the past three years, staff of my department have worked with local governments, regional NRM organisations, Tasmania Police, Sustainable Timber Tasmania and other stakeholders to tackle the problem of illegal firewood harvesting, which has impacted several breeding sites. My department is cooperating with the forestry industry and regulators to apply the latest technology to identify and manage those places critical to the swift parrot, and to put in place a formal agreement that supports this more sophisticated approach to habitat conservation.
My department has also undertaken programs to control invasive rainbow lorikeets, which compete with swift parrots for nest hollows -
Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Speaker, point of order. Relevance. This is a whole lot of material which is historical information. We asked a specific question about today, are we a party to the recovery plan, and is there funding towards protecting it now?
Madam SPEAKER - As you know, under the old rules, that is not a point of order, but under our cooperative approach, I urge the minister to be as relevant to the question as possible. Unless he wishes to advise the House later.
Mr JAENSCH - Thank you, Madam Speaker. Most recently, this has included assisting volunteers and landholders to manage the impacts of the birds, including by providing bird traps. My department also works closely with the Commonwealth to ensure that research findings provide practical conservation benefits for the swift parrot, and that conservation tools, such as the swift parrot recovery plan, are up to date. The plan is currently under review by the Australian Government.
Furthermore, my department's collaboration with other agencies and organisations helped to secure $297 000 for researchers from the Australian National University to continue vital monitoring of swift parrot migration and breeding in Tasmania until 2021.
I have provided answers. There are questions regarding the status of the Australian Government's review of the swift parrot recovery plan, and I suggest the Greens direct their question there.