NSW Nationals Leader and Shadow Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders has criticised the Labor government for lacking a long-term vision to tackle the growing feral pig problem across regional NSW.
Premier Chris Minns and Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty have today outlined plans for an additional $8 million to fund a coordinated control program, adding to the $5 million that had already been committed by the former Coalition government.
Mr Saunders said Labor needs to look beyond the next 12 months when it comes to addressing the issue.
“I welcome any investment into regional NSW, particularly for pest animal eradication and biosecurity, which was one of my top priorities during my time as Agriculture Minister,” Mr Saunders said.
“But a one-year sugar hit won’t achieve the results we need unless there is a plan and funding for the weeks, months and years after that.
“This announcement shows Labor has no long-term ideas for agriculture or biosecurity in the bush, and all we have heard since the election is how many regional initiatives apparently need to be cut to balance the books.
“I would also like to know where the $8 million is coming from – I hope it is new funding and not being taken from the Regional Growth Fund at the cost of other programs.”
Member for the Upper Hunter Dave Layzell says he has heard the concerns of land holders right across his electorate, who are in need of a meaningful solution.
“Just a week ago I was joined by Dugald at Merriwa, where we spoke to a number of farmers who are each facing the same problem, huge amounts of destruction caused by feral pigs”, Mr Layzell said.
“This has been an ongoing issue right across the Upper Hunter but was further exacerbated by a couple of very wet seasons when we saw feral pig numbers explode.
“It’s a difficult pest to manage, and while we welcome the funding on the table, we need more of a long term solution.”