16, Nov, 2012

Investors beware: Van Diemens Land dairy expansion would destroy endangered devils and quolls

Category: News


Investors beware: Van Diemens Land dairy expansion would destroy endangered devils and quolls

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has today issued a warning to potential investors in the Van Diemen’s Land company dairy expansion that they will be financing the destruction of endangered species habitats and threatened forest communities.

‘By all means invest in VDL but only do so on the basis that the expansion proceeds with no clearing of endangered species habitats or threatened forest communities,’ said TCT Director Peter McGlone.

‘The VDL could proceed with the vast majority of its expansion without resorting to clearing of native vegetation but it seems to be seeking every last hectare.

‘The company should be satisfied with expanding by improving existing dairy land, converting beef paddocks to dairy and buying additional dairy land.

The TCT has monitored VDL's expansion plans carefully and it has never publicly or privately ruled out the clearing thousands of hectares of its native vegetation including endangered species habitats as part of its expansion.

‘Do we really want to be exporting Tasmanian milk which has been produced at the expense of our most endangered and iconic species?, Mr McGlone continued.

‘The potential investors should be worried about what the milk processors and customers would think about this. Are the marginal gains in production worth the damage to the entire VDL milk brand?

‘Will processors and customers want to buy milk which, metaphorically speaking, has been tainted by the blood of Tasmanian devils?’

The TCT is concerned that the clearing of thousands of hectares of native vegetation by VDL would destroy habitat of the threatened spotted-tailed quoll and Tasmanian devil but it would also encourage other land owners to seek approvals for large scale land clearing, just when we all expected this practise was coming to an end.

'Clearing of native vegetation has been the single biggest cause of species becoming endangered and going extinct throughout the world.

‘Stopping broad-scale clearing is one essential requirement of any industry if it wants to be recognised as sustainable.

‘The land that VDL wants to clear to dairy paddocks should be protected to help secure it as habitat for Tasmanian devils and Tiger quolls.

‘This way VDL would be able to sell its milk as truly a sustainable product.

‘If this strategy delivered slightly less additional land and capacity for dairy cows or costs slightly more, then it would be well worth it as it would benefit VDL’s corporate reputation and that of their principle buyer, Fonterra,’ Mr McGlone concluded.

Further information:

Peter McGlone

0406 380 545

Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc
Ph:  03 62 343552
2nd fl, 191-193 Liverpool St, Hobart 7000
Email       Fax: 03 62 312491     Web: www.tct.org.au