The announcement last Friday by the new Federal Environment Minister Susan Ley that Eucalyptus Ovata and Brookania would be listed as critically endangered communities in Tasmania is extremely disappointing and ill-informed.
“The TFGA was not consulted on this proposed listing initially and only belatedly did the Department of Environment engage with us when it became obvious that Tasmanian farmers were the key stakeholder. The Department has been unable or unwilling to provide answers to key questions regarding the listing that were proposed to them over twelve months ago.” Said TFGA CEO, Peter Skillern.
“This process has been flawed from the beginning and has lacked any genuine understanding of how and where these species exist in Tasmania. There has been a fundamental lack of transparency during the whole process, more disturbing is the fact that the only landholders that this will effect are Tasmanian farmers, the rhetoric from the Wilderness Society over the weekend is patently false.” Said Mr Skillern.
“Once again Tasmanian farmers are expected to bear the cost of these regulations on their land without any recompense. If these types of restrictions were placed on homeowners in the leafy suburbs of Tasmania, there is little doubt that we would see an outcry. The question is, how are farmers expected to grow food and fibre for the world and carry the economic costs of ever-increasing environmental regulation on their own and remain viable.” Mr Skillern said.
Given that Tasmania delivered two rural seats to the Federal Government in the recent election that in effect, afforded them majority government and a victory, it is galling to see one of the first actions of this new Government is to impose further green tape on Tasmanian farmers. The TFGA will continue to work with Senator Jonathon Duniam and Minister Guy Barnett on how to resolve this issue, at least they do have a sound understanding of Tasmanian agriculture and its importance to our States economy.
Hayley Stepchuk | 0407 863 111