WITH front-line jobs expected to be on the chopping block as the state government brings down its budget in just over three weeks, almost $70 million has so far been set aside for the Fox Eradication Program - with no live captures to show for it.
As the public service braces for a tighter than tight budget, Environment Minister Brian Wightman said the government was committed to injecting a further $3.1 million a year to the $56.6 million 10-year eradication program established in 2007-2008.
"The Australian government has similarly recognised the serious threat that foxes pose to Tasmania and committed to support the Tasmanian fox eradication effort," Mr Wightman said.
"The Australian government provided $1 million in funding for the 2009-10 financial year.
"While I am not going to engage in speculation on the budget, I do believe it's important to continue to work to prevent fox populations from taking a foothold in Tasmania."
The Invasive Animals Co- operative Research Centre also provides funding to the program.
The program has 45 staff based across the state, which monitor signs of fox activity including spotlighting and scat surveys.
In the past week the program's new manager, former Queensland CIB detective Craig Elliott, said the baiting of foxes was the best way to help eradicate the pest.
To date, the program has uncovered four carcasses, 57 independently confirmed scats containing fox DNA, two sets of footprints and independently confirmed blood.
"This indicates the presence of foxes in this state, and it's essential we do all we can to ensure fox numbers do not reach a level that would have major impacts on our agriculture and wildlife," Mr Wightman said.
He said the program also had the backing of the Parliament's public accounts committee, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
A similar fox detection program was first established in 2002.
The Liberal opposition and the Greens were unavailable for comment last night.