Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT, Mr JAENSCH
Over the last seven years your Government has cut the Threatened Species Unit to a shadow of its former self. Loss of habitat is the prime reason so many of Tasmania's iconic animals are being marched off a cliff. You are actively logging the last of the swift parrot's habitat as you are cynically funding a recovery plan for the bird, hoping to gaslight Tasmanians into believing you are not driving the swift parrot to extinction.
Meanwhile, there are hundreds of Tasmanian listed threatened species that have no recovery plans or direly outdated ones. You have allocated $300 000 over two years in the Budget for a thorough review of the threatened species strategy but that does not start for another two years, in 2023. Now the Budget shows you are going to stop measuring the department's performance in preventing the decline of threatened species because it is 'not within the control of the department.'
Do you accept it is your own Government's policies that sanction native forest and private land clearing which are killing our native wildlife and rushing so many of them to extinction?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I am very proud to be our minister for Tasmania's environment and very pleased that our budget has continued to invest in the protection of threatened species in Tasmania. Our commitment to protection of threatened species is significant and it is ongoing and its integration in this Budget demonstrates our strong investment. We have reaffirmed our commitment to the Save the Devil program, extending the additional $450 000 in funding out until 2024 25 on top of approximately $1 million committed to the program each year. We have also committed $1 million to progress key actions identified in the Swift Parrot Recovery Plan to support ongoing active management and recovery of the species, $1 million to continue to invest in that program.
We are actively participating in the review of the National Threatened Species Strategy. We recently committed $300 000 to undertake a comprehensive review of our own Threatened Species strategy in order to provide a contemporary framework for conserving threatened plants and animals.
We will also continue funding the Raptor Refuge to run a dedicated telephone hotline for reporting injured birds, increasing our contribution towards this important service to $10 000 per annum over the next four years.
We realise that Tasmania's continuing growth and development is going to put extra risks and threats into our environment. That is why we are investing more into these programs - the threatened species recovery programs for our wedge-tail and white-bellied sea eagles which is also under way with an expert panel appointed and providing advice to us on that.
Our orange-bellied parrot program, which includes investment of $2.5 million for their new captive breeding facility at Five Mile Beach, is having record results in the number of birds successfully fledged, making their migration successfully and returning to Tasmania. We have a good track record of making a difference in the survival of our threatened species. We continue to invest and we will continue to ensure -
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker - standing order 45 on relevance.
Mr JAENSCH - that budgets like this one invest in their protection.
Ms O'Connor - You cannot run away, because the point of order was called before you finished your answer.
Dr WOODRUFF - I called the point of order while you were on your feet.
Mr SPEAKER - There is a point of order. What was the point of order?
Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Speaker, the minister sat down. He was on his feet and I asked the point of order to draw him to the fact that he has not answered the question about -
Mr SPEAKER - The minister has the right to sit down when he concludes his answer. What is the point of order?
Dr WOODRUFF - Standing order 45, relevance. He did not address the question about the Government's own policies.
Mr SPEAKER - As has been historically pointed out in this Chamber, the Speaker has no ability to tell the ministers how they should answer a question. If you could sit down, please. The point of order was not a point of order. The minister has concluded his answer. He has now sat down and we have another question.