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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

6 September 2001

FERAL PIGS THREATENING AUSTRALIA'S WILDLIFE


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has recognised feral pigs under Commonwealth environment legislation as a key threat to native Australian wildlife.

Senator Hill said today that 'Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by Feral pigs' had been added to the list of key threatening processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

"This decision reflects widespread concern about the impact of feral pigs in a range of habitats across Australia," Senator Hill said.

"Feral pigs are found in all states of Australia, particularly in association with wetlands and waterway ecosystems. The environmental impacts of feral pigs can adversely affect a number of listed threatened species, including the Southern Corroboree Frog, Northern Bettong, Southern Cassowary and the Hawksbill Turtle.

"These feral pigs cause serious problems in sensitive habitat, they wallow in mud, trample vegetation and tusk or rub trees. Feral pigs can also carry endemic and exotic diseases, and spread a fungus that causes dieback.

"This decision is expected to help landholders in reducing their costs in dealing with the impacts from feral pigs on agriculture."

On the eve of Threatened Species Day, Senator Hill announced that he has directed that a threat abatement plan be created as an effective and efficient way to reduce the threats from feral pigs.

The plan must provide for the research, management and other actions necessary to reduce the threat. It would be prepared with State and Territory agencies and public consultation.

Senator Hill said the national plan would coordinate existing control work and it would also target threatened species management and include intensive control at high conservation value sites.

He said the plan would also take into account broader issues such as the cost of control, conflicts with commercial values, and new pig colonisations spreading dieback.

September 6, 2001

Media Contact: Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia