Concerns over pause on invasive species control

The Greens and NSW Farmers are calling on the state government to immediately resume invasive species control across the state.

THE Greens are joining calls from farmers for an immediate resumption of invasive species control across NSW who are alarmed at the almost six week pause on feral species control statewide while an investigation is conducted into an aerial culling operation in Kosciuszko National Park.

Greens MP Sue Higginson said, “Safety is a paramount concern for the Greens but the National Parks and Wildlife Service is a trusted organisation with the highest standards for operations during feral animal control so it is quite frankly shocking that the Liberal Government has taken six weeks to investigate this incident while NSW farmers and the environment are threatened with rapidly expanding populations of invasive species across NSW.

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“The hypocrisy and reckless disregard that the coalition is showing to the environment, farmers, land managers and the rest of the country is gobsmacking.”

NSW Farmers have called the “reckless” freeze on pest control a threat to biosecurity, calling on the state government to resume pest animal control on public land by the end of the week, or face major biosecurity risks.

After learning that shooting had been halted by the state government, the peak body immediately contacted relevant Ministers voicing concerns that pest animals were not being treated as a serious problem.

“Putting an immediate halt to pest control efforts is like trying to put out half a fire, they’ll simply come back again and in larger numbers,” NSW Farmers CEO Pete Arkle said.

“The state government has spent good money trying to tackle the problem of pest animals, but this decision could undo that spend.

“This is a risk to our biosecurity, productivity, and conservation efforts, and the government needs to deliver the prompt resumption of pest animal control.”

Pest animals are a significant cost to the Australian economy, primary producers, land managers, the environment, and regional communities.

It is estimated that management of wild dogs by individual farmers and agencies costs $50 million per year and feral pig incursions cost the Australian agricultural industry upwards of $100 million a year.

The biggest concern, however, was the risk of diseases that could easily spread among feral populations before infecting livestock.

“We’re already on high alert when it comes to biosecurity thanks to Varroa mite and the risk of Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin Disease,” Mr Arkle said.

“Across the state, NSW Farmers members are reporting an increase in the number of wild dogs and pigs, while deer are expanding their territory and we’re seeing surging numbers of feral cats, which kill 1.8 billion native animals each year.

“This is absolutely the wrong time to stop pest animal control, it needs to resume by the end of the week.”

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