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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tasmanian Greens ...Media Release

JACKSON MUST INVESTIGATE TASMANIAN DEVIL PROTOCOL BREACHES ALLEGED BY NSW GOVERNMENT

The Tasmanian Greens today insisted that Environment Minister Judy Jackson investigate allegations made by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service that criteria established by Tasmanian authorities to minimise the risk of DFTD are not being followed.

Greens Opposition Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that a letter signed on behalf of the Director General of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service said that “Tasmanian authorities have established criteria to ensure low risk of carrying the disease (DFTD), yet these criteria are not being used for export proposals for the establishment of mainland breeding colonies.”

“This is a serious allegation which must be investigated by Mrs Jackson as a matter of urgency,” Mr McKim said.

“We need to know what protocols are not being followed, and whether any failure of compliance might increase the chance of inadvertently exporting the disease.”

“With the government making the bizarre decision to potentially export a new wildlife disease across the planet, surely Mrs Jackson is concerned that protocols which have been established may not be being followed.”

“It is not good enough for Mrs Jackson to blame the NSW government for having its facts wrong – she must investigate the allegation with a view to tightening compliance with established protocols.”

Mr McKim maintained his position that it would be unwise to send a breeding pair of Tasmanian Devils to Denmark.

“I assume Mrs Jackson would not allow birds from China to be imported into Tasmania, so why is she insisting that devils potentially infected with a largely unknown disease be exported to the other side of the planet as a publicity stunt?”

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