The Australian Government’s inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia was launched on 18 June 2020.
In our submission endorsed by Bush Heritage Australia, the NSW Nature Conservation Council and Nature Conservation Society of South Australia our main focus is on five terms of reference:
- The effectiveness of current legislative and regulatory approaches.
- The effectiveness of Commonwealth action and cooperation with states and territories on this issue, including progress made under the Threat Abatement Plan, national framework and national declaration relating to feral and domestic cats in Australia.
- The efficacy (in terms of reducing the impact of cats), cost effectiveness and use of current and emerging methods and tools for controlling feral cats, including baiting, the establishment of feral cat-free areas using conservation fencing, gene drive technology;
- Efficacy of import controls for high risk domestic cat varieties to prevent the impacts of feral and domestic cats, including on native wildlife and habitats.
- Public awareness and education in relation to the feral and domestic cat problem.
Our recommendations include:
- Maintain national leadership through the feral cat taskforce to achieve long-term reduction of feral cat impacts.
- Ensure future threatened species strategies prioritise strategic actions to reduce feral cat impacts.
- Broaden representation within the taskforce to include the agriculture sector, local government, veterinarians, pet traders and pet food industry.
- Continue to exert national leadership to drive consistency in state and territory feral cat legislation.
- Maintain a strong national focus on eradicating cats from islands of high conservation significance.
- Strengthen biosecurity regulations and strategies for cat-free islands to prevent colonisation or recolonisation.