The TCT is disappointed that the Foreign Investment Review Board and Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison have approved the sale of Van Diemens Land Company (VDL) without placing conditions requiring the buyer to retain all habitat for the Tasmanian devil. The current owners of VDL are dedicated to clearing more than 1800 hectares of forest at its Woolnorth property and converting it to dairy pasture.
The company's own consultants have found this forest to be habitat for the Tasmanian devil and Tiger quoll (both nationally endangered species). VDL has a permit from the Tasmanian government for clearing 1800 hectares but still requires approval from the Federal government. "The FIRB and Treasurer have missed an important opportunity to protect the Tasmanian devil's habitat but Mr Lu Xianfeng can still save our devils" said TCT Director Peter McGlone. "The TCT wrote to Moonlake Investments and attempted to get a meeting with Mr Lu Xianfeng to encourage them to abandon the proposed forest clearing and to expand the dairy through other means."
"Despite our attempts we have had no communication from Moonlake Investments but we would still welcome an opportunity to meet the company owner to discuss our concerns regarding the proposed forest clearing. "It would make economic and environmental sense for VDL to abandon forest clearing and expand through improving existing pasture and buying more pasture."
The FIRB has acknowledged an in principle commitment from Moonlake Investments to constructing a fence to protect the devils from contracting the devil facial tumour disease. The TCT believes this fence is unlikely to ever 2 be built because it is unlikely to be effective in containing the disease free devils and would be prohibitively expensive. "We wish to advise Mr Lu Xianfeng that protecting all existing habitat is a far higher priority than building a fence." "It would also be particularly disappointing if an expensive tax-payer funded fence is construct, with the aim of protecting the Tasmanian devil, and then for VDL’s new owners to clear 1800 hectares of the devils forest habitat inside the fenced area."
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