The Latest Dirt

Read below to find out about:

  • Trans Pacific Partnership petition
  • Cat pest research

Trans Pacific Partnership petition

In March, Sprout Tasmania Volunteer's Sadie Chrestman and Alice Percy put together a petition to send to The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. 

As farmers and growers of specialised and niche produce, we are dependent on Tasmania retaining the environmental protections we have, as an island state, inherited. We are uneasy about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership  (TPP). ISDS provisions allow foreign investors to sue our government if their profits are affected by any Australian law or policy.

The agreement will create a free trade zone among 12 nations, including Australia, the US, Japan and New Zealand. There has been a rise in corporations requesting arbitration under ISDS provisions in previous agreements and we are concerned that this will result in regulatory chill, an environment where future governments will be reluctant to introduce new laws that may be in the State's interest but may attract arbitration under the TPP's ISDS provisions: arbitration that a small state cannot afford. Australia stands to make very modest benefits under the TPP (Australian Financial Review, January 11, 2016), as we have already achieved access to desirable markets under previous agreements. With the ISDS provisions and without more tangible benefits for our island's small farmers, we cannot support the TPP as it is currently worded.

We received over 700 signatures and some incredible responses to send to the Federal Government. Thank you to everyone that signed the petition. It is fantastic to see the support that small farmers have from the community. 

Cat pest research

Felixer cat - written by Rae Young (Volunteer Member of Sprout)

Hello all you folk keen on healthy landscapes and sustainability!
Here is a project that if proven safe will totally transform our ability to control cats across the state. It is just such a fabulous idea and just needs the last bit of research to get out there and be amazingly useful. 
Rowena is one of five PhD students undertaking research in the Midlands and her areas are cats, quolls and devils. The other students are doing studies on bandicoot, bettongs, potoroos, bats, owls, birds, and then statistics. They all stay on Lewisham (my farm) when they undertake their research.
The University of Tasmania research team is seeking crowdfunding to assist with the research. Feral cats are a huge threat to agriculture but are notoriously hard to control via shooting, trapping and baiting. The team aims to test whether the Felixer, a new robotic grooming trap for feral cats, is safe for native cat-like animals such as the vulnerable spotted-tailed quoll. If it can avoid impacts on these native carnivores, this device could be a vital weapon in the fight against feral cats.
To find out more and pledge to the crowdfunding campaign head to
Felixer Cat Trap