Thursday 19 November 2009
LIONS SAVING THE TASMANIAN DEVIL
Mr Finch (Rosevears) - Madam President, I do feel like a bit of a party pooper here because the accolades are flowing for our three retiring members of State Parliament and also best wishes to our member for Apsley. I did want to highlight something and I missed my opportunity last night. I wanted to bring some news to the House before we left Parliament this year. It is about the plight of our State icon, the Tasmanian Devil. It is never far from the news these days and neither should it be. Public concern is increasing and the predictions are becoming more dire but there is good news. I spoke last Thursday on our encouraging recent fundraising event to help with more of the protective devil islands, to help and isolate the healthy devils. We raised $137 000 at that dinner which was quite fantastic. Now, I am happy to tell you about a decision by the Lions Club of Tasmania to pledge their support for three years to the Devil Island Project. Lions members will help with working bees to build the desperately needed free-range enclosures planned to start construction next month. The next three free-range enclosures of 60 acres each will provide housing for up to 180 devils. The Lions Board has given more than $10 000 of in-kind support at what was a prototype working bee. Over a weekend in August they built a complete research hut at devil island number one at Bicheno. This site has been in operation for 18 months and the devils have already bred successfully. Bruce Englefield, the chairman of the Devil Island Project, who spoke to Lions Tasmania on the Save the Tasmanian Devil program, explained the plans in place for the insurance population and the huge effort that was being made by so many Tasmanians to help save the devil.
I will not be long; I am under instructions from the member for Western Tiers to make it very brief.
Dr Goodwin - I couldn't stifle it, I am sorry.
Mr FINCH - I understand. This decision by Lions members is further evidence of the increasing community involvement in the fight for the Tasmanian Devil and, recognising this groundswell of support for the battle, I feel optimistic that there will also be a new State Government initiative before the end of March. Have a merry Christmas.