A plan to reduce the speed limit on a 25km stretch of road responsible for a quarter of Tasmanian devil deaths on state roads* was quashed last night when the Circular Head Council voted down a motion to support the measure.
The Council instead supported amendments to reduce the speed limit on a nearby 3km stretch of road.
Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has been campaigning in Canberra for increased funding for the Tasmanian devil and attended the Circular Head Council meeting last night.
“The Circular Head Council’s decision is devastating, especially for local residents involved in the heartbreaking task of removing hundreds of dead Tasmanian devils from Woolnorth Road.
“The Federal Government has failed to provide any recent funding to the Save the Devil program, or assist in roadkill mitigation measures, and we were hopeful the local council would instead show leadership in protecting one of our state’s most iconic and endangered species.
“Arguments that a speed limit reduction along Woolnorth Road would impact businesses are ridiculous. The 25km stretch of Woolnorth Road is used primarily by milk trucks servicing the nearby Van Dairy farm, which supports a speed limit reduction!***
“I’d like to acknowledge the councillors who voted for the speed limit reduction to reduce devil road kill on Woolnorth Road, and am deeply shocked and saddened that the other councillors ignored the evidence before them and showed such disinterest and disregard for our precious wildlife.”
*Government data shows between 350 and 450 Tasmanian devils are killed on Tasmania’s roads every year. Meanwhile wildlife rescuers removed approximately 181 Tasmanian devils in 24 months from the 25 km stretch of Woolnorth Road in the state’s North West.
** Federal funding has been critical to the Tasmanian devil’s survival, but this ended in 2017. Adding insult to injury, the Tasmanian devil has also had its recovery plan scrapped despite warnings that the species is battling a myriad of pressures, including on our roads.
***Van Dairy supports an 80km/h speed limit but said a night-time curfew on milk tankers was a matter for milk processors, such as Fonterra.