Devil to get disease funding

FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt has blamed the state government for a delay in federal funding for a devil conservation program, saying the Tasmanian Labor government ``had no weight in Canberra''.

Mr Hunt yesterday announced $3 million funding for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, which he described as a `` a once-in-a-century investment'' to save the species from the devil facial tumour disease.

The program had not received any federal funding since June 30 last year, sparking a blame game between the federal and state governments. 

State Environment Minister Brian Wightman said he wrote to his federal counterpart requesting $2 million in fox eradication funding be transferred to the devil program.

Mr Wightman said he was told it was not possible, and Lyons Liberal MHR Eric Hutchinson called it ``a gross hypocrisy''.

Mr Hunt said the $3 million would be additional to the fox eradication program funding and would be paid in full before June 30. 

It will allow enclosures to be made using devil-proof fences to protect healthy populations from those infected.

Mr Wightman said he was disappointed it had taken the federal government so long to make a commitment.

``The Abbott Government has clearly been embarrassed into announcing this money,'' he said.

Greens environment spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor said any investment in the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program was welcome. ``But if the Liberal Party was sincere about protecting our iconic species,  they would reverse their plans to mine the Tarkine as well as wind back and log in our World Heritage areas and national parks, which are key devil habitats,'' Ms O'Connor said.

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