In­quiry tack­les fer­als

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

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.

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