During the 2010 state election the TCT and Tasmanian Land Conservancy secured the commitment of all three political parties to establish a Private Land Conservation Fund. The Labor Party could only give in-principle support and, not surprisingly, the fund received no funding in the State Budget. Since the election we have commenced discussions with the State Government to establish the institution to run the fund, with a view to seeking funding from next year’s budget.
The TCT managed to obtain support from all three major parties during the election for the reservation of 77,500 hectares of Crown land, as recommended in 2006 by the Crown Land Assessment and Classification Program. Following the State Budget, the Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, David O’Byrne, announced the government’s commitment to proceeding with these reserves and the allocation of funds specifically for their management. Lack of funds for management had held up the declaration of these reserves since 2006. The TCT has been a lone voice on this issue for more than four years and was the only conservation group that lobbied the major parties on the issue during the state election. We look forward to these new reserves being declared in the next few months.
The TCT can take some credit for the previous Labor government’s decision, in December 2009, to provide $10 million in additional funding over four years for the Parks and Wildlife Service and the announcement the State Budget of an additional $4 million per year.
This additional funding was, of course, very welcome and both the Labor Party and Tasmanian Greens must be congratulated. What was most pleasing is that the additional funding has been very well directed to priority areas, including creating more ranger positions and other on-ground staff, increased capacity for compliance, management planning and Aboriginal heritage management.
The disappointing aspects of the State Budget include:
- the lack of funding for implementation of the Cat Management Act passed by Parliament in 2009
- no funding to continue the Alternatives to 1080 Program to assist farmers and the forestry industry to manage native browsing animals
- breaking of an election promise by postponing funding for the Wealth from Water Program, which is intended to guide where irrigation development should be focused,