Tasmanian Devils in danger from clearing, whilst the new Chinese owner of the nation’s largest dairy farm has their plans 

The new Chinese owner of the nation­’s largest dairy faces an early introduction to Australian envir­onmentalism, with demands that he immediately drop plans to bulldoze more than 1800ha of key Tasmanian devil habitat.
Wealthy businessman Lu Xianfeng, who gained federal clearance to buy the 19,000ha Van Diemen’s Land Co dairy in Tasmania’s northwest, gave assurances that a doubling of milk prod­uction would “initially” focus on efficiencies and existing pastures.
However, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust said yesterday that it was alarmed at the use of the word “initially”, and Mr Lu’s refusa­l to scrap well-advanced plans by the farm’s previous owner to clear 1818ha of rare forests and devil habitat.
Trust director Peter McGlone has tried unsuccessfully to meet Mr Lu to secure a commitment to dropping the contentious land-clearing plan, which has state approva­l and has been lodged with the commonwealth in draft form.
“It’s really important that he abandons the plans that VDL currently have for clearing 1800 ha of forest and there are clear environmental concerns we’d like to run past him,” Mr McGlone said.
“It is prime habitat for endangered Tasmanian devils and tiger quolls. We’re going to continue to oppose any application for clearing. It doesn’t do the brand of a company any good to have that sort of public debate about land clearing.”
In giving the Turnbull government’s blessing to Mr Lu’s $280 million acquisition, Scott Morrison cited the Chinese entrepreneur’s “in principle” support for the construction of a devilproof fence across VDL Co’s main Woolnorth property as one “consideration” behind his approval.
The fence, which would stretch tens of kilometres and aim to keep Woolnorth’s estimated 500 healthy devils quarantined from devils with the deadly devil facial tumour disease, has been talked about for many years.
However, the multi-million-dollar cost and logistical difficulties have prevented the idea being adopted by the state or federal governments, which fund the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.
The program yesterday confirmed the importance of the Woolnorth devils, one of the last significant disease-free popula­tions in the wild, and conceded that the fence was not a priority.
“The logistics of building and maintaining a fence across the landscape poses a number of challenges­ that would need to be addressed for it to be an effective method,” a spokesman said.
“The program continues to maintain a strong interest in the health of the population on the (Woolnorth) site and would be looking to work with the new owner to continue ongoing monit­oring and identifying measures that may assist their ongoing survival­.”
Devil expert Nick Mooney has warned that the Woolnorth landclearing could cut devil numbers to a quarter of current levels, mainly by reducing the number of wallabies on which they feed.
Mr McGlone said it was misleading to suggest the devil fence could offset the loss of devils caused by landclearing. “It can in no way compensate for the loss of devil habitat,” he said.
Late yesterday — more than two days after The Weekend Australia­n first sought comment from Mr Lu on the issue — he had not responded.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeff says:

    I’ve been to China, it smells and is mostly a fithy and dangerous looking place.
    Some beauty still remains there but I feel that most Chinese people, mainly men have little respect for the environment.
    This us what our government is letting happen here!
    And all in the name of greed!!!!


  2. Robyn taylor says:



  3. Terry says:

    ENOUGH. The Chinese have ZERO regard for anyone’s welfare but their own and especially have no regard or humanity toward animals of any kind. This Chinese bloke cannot be trusted. What would he care if he destroyed Tasmania and it’s rare wildlife. He won’t. FIRST OF ALL EVERYONE NEEDS TO BOYCOTT THEIR MILK & destroy his business. And STOP FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF AUSTRALIA>


  4. Carol says:

    We’ll have nothing left to call our own soon.


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