The first meeting of the Tasmanian Cat Management Reference Group was held on 19 June 2015. The reference group was established by the Minister for Primary Industries, Jeremy Rockliff, and includes representatives from the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, RSPCA, Hobart Cat Centre, Australian Veterinary Association, Cat Association of Tasmania, Landcare Tasmania, Local Government Association of Tasmania, NRM North, Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the University of Tasmania.
The reference group has the task of providing advice to the minister on ways to achieve better cat management in Tasmania. This includes issues related to domestic and feral cats, roles and responsibilities and identifying the necessary resources (public and private) to achieve effective outcomes. The advice is to be provided to the minister in the form of a Tasmanian Cat Management Plan.
Two working groups will be established to look at the issues relating to domestic and feral cats and provide the necessary formation for the plan. The working groups will include members of the reference group and selected experts from outside the group. The reference group itself will consider the broader issues that influence or impact on cat management in Tasmania, such as resourcing, roles and responsibilities and legislation.
Biosecurity Tasmania will post links on its website to information that has been developed here in Tasmania or is available on other websites, that provides useful background information and information on cat management in general.
Communicating the work and progress of the groups will be high priority. The reference group wants the Tasmanian community to have ownership of the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan, and will use a range of tools to achieve this. Regular updates will be posted on the Biosecurity Tasmania website and Facebook page; reference group participants will ensure their members are kept informed, via newsletters and social media; there will be forums and opportunities for public comment.
Ongoing input during the formulation of the plan from the community can occur via the Biosecurity Tasmania Facebook page or the reference group members pages.
A draft of the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan is due by the end of the year, so the working groups will be required to report to the reference group twice in that period, and the reference group will have at least three meetings.