Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
No money for new save the Tasmanian devil pro -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

DAVID MARK: The Federal Government is refusing to fund a new program designed to help save the Tasmanian devil from extinction.

The endangered devils are being killed by a contagious facial cancer that's spreading across Tasmania.

The Save the Devil program wanted $4 million to fence in several peninsulas in Tasmania to separate healthy animals from diseased devils.

The Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, says the lack of federal funding is condemning the devil to extinction.

Felicity Ogilvie reports from Hobart

FELICITY OGILVIE: The wild population of Tasmanian devils is being decimated by an ugly and contagious facial cancer that's spreading across the island.

More than 500 devils are being kept safe from the cancer in Zoos and wildlife parks on the mainland and in Tasmania.

But the Federal Government has refused to fund the latest idea for keeping the devil safe and wild. The Save the Devil program wants to fence off entire peninsulas off land on Tasmania's east and west coasts, providing a safe place for disease free devils to live.

Wildlife Park owner Androo Kelly calls it a final defence.

ANDROO KELLY: With the landscape proposal, that's the final sort of defence against the potential extinction in the wild, for example they would then be able to use those animals in those peninsula areas to release back into the local environment if the Tasmanian devil was to become extinct in the wild.

FELICITY OGILVIE: It's a $4 million project and the Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt says it's a disappointing that the Government hasn't funded it.

But he stopped short of promising to fund the program if the Coalition wins the election.

GREG HUNT: What I will commit to is working with Zoos Victoria, the Tasmanian Government and the Tasmanian population on a Tassie devil recovery program. We obviously need to see the submissions but this is one of not just Tasmanian's but Australia's iconic species and our task and our duty is to work to preserve, protect and help the population of Tassie devils recover.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Australian Greens Leader, Christine Milne, is slamming the Federal Government's decision not to fund the new plan to fence in peninsula's to protect the devil.

CHRISTINE MILNE: It's already not got very great genetic diversity, it's been wiped out in a number of places and we're trying to be able to get insurance populations but these are really last-minute rescue efforts and to slash that is condemning the devil to extinction and it's wrong.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, says the State Government can't afford to fund the project on its own.

LARA GIDDINGS: This has always been a joint project between the Commonwealth and the State and obviously we will look at whatever demands there may well be on the program through our normal budget processes.

But this was significant funding from the Commonwealth, which really was quite critical to the work that we're doing, so we will be following this up with whoever is the Australian government after the 7th September.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The State Government is even sending Tasmanian devils overseas in its bid to attract more attention and funding for the endangered species.

The Government says the devils will live in four zoos in the USA and New Zealand, and if the pilot is successful the program will be expanded to Europe.

DAVID MARK: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.