Inquiry tackles ferals
A new Senate inquiry into the growing impacts of deer, pigs and goats in Australia will put a national spotlight on the destruction wrought by these feral animals on the natural environment and farmland.
The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee will examine a range of areas, including the likely and potential biosecurity risks and impacts of feral deer, pigs and goats on the environment, agriculture and community safety, and the benefits of developing and fully implementing national threat abatement plans for feral deer, pigs and goats.
‘‘This inquiry will bring an important national focus to a nationally significant environmental and agricultural threat,’’ Invasive Species Council chief executive officer Andrew Cox said.
‘‘We are hoping it will identify national priorities for research, policy reform and management of these destructive animals,’’ Mr Cox said.
He said feral deer, pigs and goats were a major growing problem for the environment, farmers and public.
‘‘Deer populations in particular have grown exponentially in recent decades.
‘‘In Victoria they are believed to number in the millions, in NSW they cover over one sixth of the state and there are more than 40 000 feral deer in Tasmania.
‘‘Feral pigs can be found across Australia, but are most abundant in NSW and Queensland, where they have recently expanded their range.
‘‘They pose a risk to many other areas, including large parts of the Kimberley.
‘‘While feral goats are also found in all states and territories, but are largely absent from mainland Northern Territory.’’
The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions has just started four deer research projects, with $8.7 million direct and in-kind funding from the Federal Government and NSW, Queensland, Victorian and South Australian governments.