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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 520..


Adjournment

Motion (by Mr Moore ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Brush-tailed rock wallabies

CTEC documents

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.17): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, tonight Quantum, Australia's premier science program, will have a feature dedicated to some activity that is going on at Tidbinbilla. The entire program, which commences at 8.30 this evening, will be devoted to the fight to save the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby at Tidbinbilla.

In a world first, last month two of the endangered male brush-tailed rock wallabies from Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve were released back into the wild in an effort to conserve the species from extinction. Canberrans should be particularly proud that Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has played a vital role in saving the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby from extinction.

Tidbinbilla is the first place in the world to incorporate quite an innovative cross-fostering technique to increase breeding success rates. That technique has generated an enormous amount of international interest. It involves catching a foster mother Tamar wallaby and transferring the pouch young from a brush-tailed rock wallaby into the Tamar's pouch. The benefit of this is that, with the removal of its young, the brush-tailed rock wallaby is then able to produce up to six young each year instead of the single young it would normally produce. Our captive breeding program has had spectacular success. Sixteen young brush-tailed rock wallaby joeys have been born at Tidbinbilla over the past few years.

In the effort to conserve the species, not just in reserves but also in the wild, an enormous amount of work has been done in mapping the species. There are some in southern New South Wales and there is a small population in eastern Victoria. The two male brush-tailed rock wallabies released back into the wild have joined a small colony of three females on a private property in southern New South Wales, the location of which is being kept a secret, because we want them to thrive and prosper.

Environment ACT has been working with a number of other agencies across Australia for some years to build up the stocks of the brush-tailed rock wallaby so that we can release them back into the wild. There is no point in having a program to protect an endangered species if you do not have the view that they should eventually return to the wild. What we are achieving is an indication of just how successful the staff at Tidbinbilla have been. This is the first step in a very long road to recovery. It is tremendous that it is being taken here in our own Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

The brush-tailed rock wallaby is considered to be critically endangered in Victoria. It was last sighted in the wild in the ACT in 1959. The last wild Victorian population of about 20 to 30 creatures is now restricted to the Snowy River National Park in the east of


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