TWO Palaszczuk government ministers have been challenged over their decision to shut down a feral goat eradication program on Pelorus Island.
Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, said there had been considerable public interest in the Hinchinbrook Shire Council's feral goat eradication plan and the circumstances in which environment minister Steven Miles, supported by the agriculture minister Leanne Donaldson, had issued the conservation order.
The order was issued to allegedly to protect the vulnerable Beach Stone Curlew from wild dogs, which had been released as part of the conservation project.
Mr Cripps said the agriculture minister needed to explain her position when it had emerged that her department strongly supports this project
“n fact, the Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s project plan actually lists the Queensland Agriculture Department as a project partner,” Mr Cripps said.
“The Agriculture Department’s Animal Ethics Committee approved the use of wild dogs in the Pelorus Island program in May this year, so we have to ask if Minister Donaldson supports these independent, science and best-practice based decisions by her own public servants.
“If she does, the minister clearly supports the use of the 1080 device used in the project, but if she doesn’t, we must ask if she supports the existing, widespread use of 1080 in wild dog control programs across Queensland, including those programs funded by her own Department.”
Mr Cripps said although the Environment Minister had issued the Interim Conservation Order on August 17, no evidence had been released to officially confirm Beach Stone Curlews were in fact present on Pelorus Island.
He challenged Mr Miles to release any such evidence.
“Minister Miles also needs to confirm that if there are any other Palaszczuk government approved biological control projects involving the release of feral predators into areas with listed threatened species currently underway in Queensland he has moved similarly to shut them down,” Mr Cripps said.
“The Hinchinbrook Shire Council is currently using ratepayers’ money to comply with the Interim Conservation Order, but given the Palaszczuk Government originally approved this project, I call on the Premier to guarantee that the Council will be reimbursed the costs of compliance”.
Mr Cripps said the order, which provided 14 days for the Council to remove the wild dogs from Pelorus Island, had now expired.
“Can the premier to rule out a scenario where the council would be fined, or the council’s chief executive officer imprisoned, for any failure to comply,” Mr Cripps said.
The story Pelorus Island comes back to bite Palaszczuk ministers first appeared on Queensland Country Life.