The Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut funding for biosecurity operations to Tasmania by 20 percent over the last four years, Tuesday’s Senate Estimates hearings revealed.
Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay said, “I arranged for Labor Senator Carol Brown to ask questions of Commonwealth Department of Agriculture officials regarding Tasmania’s fruit fly emergency.
“The officials confirmed Commonwealth funding to Tasmania for biosecurity operations was slashed by 20 percent from $1.62 million in
2013-14 to $1.29 million in 2016-17, at a time of unprecedented growth in visitor numbers to our state.
“Jeremy Rockliff’s own leaked Question Time Brief confirmed these cuts, but the same document was silent as to whether he actually did anything about it.
“It appears to confirm an unfortunate pattern of the State Liberals rolling over to Canberra with barely a whimper.
“Tasmania’s biosecurity has been compromised because the State Liberals are too weak to stand up to Canberra.”
“The hearings also revealed Jeremy Rockliff signed off on a Fruit Fly Memorandum of Understanding in April last year, but government officials refused to provide details of that document.
"Jeremy Rockliff needs to come clean on what he has signed Tasmania up for.
“Has he signed up for reduced Commonwealth funding?
“Has he signed up for fruit fly research to remain low priority for Tasmania, as his government previously did in a September 2015 Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre Report?
“Has he signed up to a Commonwealth Deed that provides no compensation for farmers through a fruit fly incursion?
“Tasmanian farmers and the wider community have a right to know what Jeremy Rockliff has been up to.”
WEDNESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2018
MEDIA CONTACTS: JOHN DOWLING 0417 575 148 (KEAY)