Released footage of a diseased Tasmanian devil in an area of the Tarkine earmarked for mining development shows there is an urgent need for federal government intervention before the devil slides into extinction, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.
"This is the news that has long been feared. The Tasmanian devil's final disease free stronghold in the Tarkine has now been breached.
"The diseased devil was picked up on remote imaging equipment placed on a proposed Venture Minerals mining site in the Tarkine well beyond where the devil facial tumour had last been verified.
"This will spell disaster for the devil if the government signs off on increased mining in the region, meaning facial tumour disease will be fast tracked to parts of the Tarkine still with healthy populations.
"It is vital now that the Government intervenes with an immediate halt on further development within the Tarkine.
"Tony Burke can no longer delay when this evidence paints in black and white the necessity for immediate action.
"With the Tarkine devil population now under threat, protection from development is a must as the chance of this population surviving facial tumour disease relies now on minimising other impacts on the region.
"Disease in the area means every single activity that leads to increased contact between devils, such as roads being used more frequently and increased feeding around roadkill, will lead to an explosion of the disease throughout the Tarkine.
"Why is it that Minister Burke's department, with money and resources readily available, are frequently the last to hear of the dire situation facing the devil? It should not be up to environmental groups to inform the public when the government is charged with assessing the potential impacts of mining within the region.
"The Minister's current lackadaisical approach to determining the impact of mining the region will no longer be tolerated by Tasmanians as they associate government delay and inaction with a willingness to sign off on the extinction of the devil.
"No more delays, Minister Burke. You are considering the destruction of a pristine wilderness, and now by association you are toying with the existence of the iconic Tasmanian devil."