The Hodgman Liberal Government takes very seriously our responsibility for the protection of threatened and endangered species.
Today, I am pleased to announce that further action is being taken to protect the critically endangered Swift Parrot, which breeds in Tasmania.
Our State is an active participant in the National Swift Parrot Recovery Plan and there are a range of measures in place to conserve breeding and foraging habitat, as well as to reduce the impact of harvesting operations in production forest.
Recently, research headed up by the Australian National University has provided increased awareness of the threat posed to Swift Parrots by the sugar gliders, an introduced predator.
Due to this threat, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced late last month that it upgraded the status of the Swift Parrot from endangered to critically endangered.
Sugar gliders are a threat throughout mainland Tasmanian, but are not found on Bruny or other offshore islands.
This makes these islands important for Swift Parrot protection.
The Government, in consultation with Forestry Tasmania (FT), has recognised the special circumstances of Bruny Island in relation to the Swift Parrot.
It has been decided to temporarily cease harvesting on Bruny Island, pending the completion of an evidence-based Swift Parrot management plan informed by an Australian Government reassessment of the status of the species.
This decision will have no immediate impact on FT’s operations or the supply of high quality of sawlog and peeler billets to Tasmanian industry.
If the evidence-based research demonstrates the need to permanently exclude forestry operations from areas of Swift Parrot habitat beyond those already protected, the Government will need to consider what further action may be required.
The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act allows for the exchange of land between Permanent Timber Production Zone (PTPZ) and Future Potential Production Forest (FPPF) land before 2020, as well as conversion of FPPF land to production forest post-2020.
Should Swift Parrot habitat be assessed as requiring further protection, we will need to consider the exchange or conversion of land, consistent with our policy of not reducing the amount of forest land available for harvest.
The final say would be a matter for Parliament as any exchange or conversion would require the agreement of both Houses.