While the use of 1080 poison for control of native browsing animals reached a historic low in the financial year ending 30 June 2012 (just 0.42kg statewide), it has spiked since then, rising to 0.588kg for the period 1 July to 30 November 2012. Minister Brian Wightman is committed to ‘reducing the level of 1080 use in line with’ the Tasmania Together target of zero 1080 use by 2015. The TCT will continue to push for 1080 use to be reduced in order to reach this goal. Note: although the Tasmania Together board has been abandoned for cost-cutting reasons, the Premier has committed to retaining the TT targets.
Critical to ending the use of 1080 poison is the retention of the Browsing Animal Management Program (BAMP) within DPIPWE to offer farmers assistance in implementing alternative effective control measures. The BAMP was established in August 2011 (with a two-year time frame) to assist farmers in achieving productivity gains by reducing the impact of browsing wildlife. All efforts are made to control wildlife without resorting to 1080. BAMP officers conduct on-site visits and are able to calculate financial loss due to browsing wildlife. They are also able to assist farmers with developing an integrated browsing strategy and providing up-to-date information on advances in fencing.
The BAMP also runs field days and has visited 37 properties in relation to browsing damage management. Research from the Alternatives to 1080 program found that landowners in the north of the state were losing between 12% and 100% of new pasture growth on rested paddocks. The average loss was around 60% in the first 100m from the bush edge. Trials conducted on farms that had properly installed wallaby proof fencing found that 35% more stock could be carried.
The BAMP only has funding until the end of the financial year, 15 months before the 2015 phase-out deadline. Re-funding of the BAMP was one of our top priority recommendations in our submission on the state budget for 2013–14 and this issue was raised with the Premier in person at the Community Sector Budget roundtable meeting on 19 December 2012. The TCT’s submission on the state budget for 2013–14 is available on our website.