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TAS Country : February 9th 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012 Tasmanian Country 7 News School closures to hurt farming THE move to close schools in Tasmania will have a serious impact on the agri- cultural industry, says Op- position spokesman for primary industries, Jere- my Rockliff. ''One of the key impedi- ments to expansion in agri- culture is skill shortages, particularly in the dairy industry,'' he said. ''Under the proposed cri- teria for school closures announced in the School Viability Reference Group Report, more than 40 schools across the state could face the axe, includ- ing three in the North- West within 45km of a major dairy development at Smithton. ''Investment and devel- opment in irrigation infra- structure is vitally import- ant to growing skill sets, and has the potential to place regions like the North-West and the North- East . . . on a long-term and viable economic future,'' Mr Rockliff said. ''But without our rural schools our ability to at- tract young families to ru- ral areas will decrease. ''It is no secret that when young families seek to fur- ther career opportunities and move to areas in re- gional Australia, a major criteria in their decision- making is the proximity of the local school.'' Set the Fox Taskforce on to cats TFGA matters with Jan Davis OUT OF CONTROL: The number of feral cats has ballooned since the Government decided to fix'' the problem. FARMERS, conservationists and the mainstream media seldom agree wholeheartedly on an area of agricul- tural policy. You can pretty much always count on at least one of the three to be at odds with the other two -- and sometimes all three will have differing views. So when we all agree on something, people should pay attention. We all agree on the importance of controlling feral cats, and there also appears to be agreement that calling in the Fox Taskforce rangers is a good idea to achieve this. Both the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and Environment Tasmania have made detailed cases in their budget submissions for the State Government to bite the bullet on wild cats. And, in an editorial this week, the Mercury agreed with us. Invasive animals represent an insidi- ous threat to Australian agriculture and to the nation's biodiversity. They cost us at least $740 million a year in lost agricultural production and con- trol costs. They have contributed to the extinction of numerous Australian mammals and birds and still threaten hundreds of plant and animal species. Feral cats are a serious threat to Tasmanian biodiversity. In Tasmania, the Government's re- sponse to invasive animals has been piecemeal, really only marked by the Fox Taskforce and the program to eradicate carp from highland lakes. Cats caught legislators' attention for a while, but then slipped off the radar. In 2009, TFGA welcomed legislation passed by the Government to manage cats. However, three years on, this legislation still hasn't been im- plemented. This is despite then minister David Llewellyn (yes, that's how long ago it was) warning we had 92,000 domestic cats and up to 150,000 stray and feral cats here. He was talking about a four- year program then. With no compulsory desexing of pets, no management on farms and ideal conditions for prey species, the cat population has ballooned since 2009. We agree with Environment Tasmania and the Mercury: it's time to broaden the charter of the intrepid fox rangers to include cats. But feral cats are not just a threat to wildlife. One of the biggest threats from feral cats is toxoplasmosis. Cats are the definitive host of the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Usually passed on through cat faeces, the disease causes serious health prob- lems in humans, even deaths. It also causes abortions in sheep. In addition, white cysts in sheepmeat render it inedible. Toxoplasmosis is a serious health threat in Tasmania, yet through pro- crastination we are not doing anything about it. The Government cannot delay any longer. The Fox Taskforce has to be enlarged to include all invasive animals, including feral cats. The infrastructure and expertise are in place. It really is a no-brainer. The costs of the cat management program pale into insignificance when compared with the community costs of toxoplasmosis, let alone the loss of production on our farms and the impact on wildlife. TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania Please remove any hidden obstacles in your poppy paddocks while they can still be seen and ensure access is clear. Delays are costly for everyone. 2058225-120127 Succession and Estate Planning A Seminar for Farmers Presented by: Sponsored by: 2020871-120217 Monday, 20 February 2012 7.30 pm -- 9.30 pm MILE Community Centre, 68 High St, Oatlands FREE by RSVP to 6223 8899 or email@example.com
February 2nd 2012
February 16th 2012