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Just a day after being sworn in as the new Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I’ve been meeting the community, working on our initiatives and I called in to inspect the Hodgman Liberal Government’s work at The Neck.

New underground penguin crossings and roadside fencing, delivered as part of the recent upgrade of Bruny Island Main Road at The Neck, are saving penguins lives.

Dedicated penguin crossings and fencing were installed in 2017 as part of upgrades at the Neck. Since works finished in 2017 there have been no recorded cases of penguin roadkill at the site.

Protecting the penguins was a key priority of the upgrades, delivered jointly by the Department of State Growth and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, in close collaboration with BirdLife Tasmania. We know it’s also important to the residents and visitors who love these wonderful creatures and appreciate their unique home on the Island.

Improvements at the Neck included, upgrading and sealing the final 2.5 km of Bruny Island Main Road, the creation of a dedicated wildlife zone with warning signage, a lower speed limit and installation of the under-road culverts and mesh fencing, and construction of a larger car park with safer entry and exit points.

Upgrades to the lookout, walkway and toilet were delivered by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.

BirdLife Tasmania provided specialist advice on the design of the penguin culverts and have monitored the penguins’ movements over the last two breeding seasons.

This research showed penguins adapted quickly to using the culverts, starting to use the culverts to cross from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to their colony at the Neck within 10 days of installation.

This project is the first in Tasmania to have quantitative data on the usage of under-road culverts by penguins. The success of this project will help inform future road construction projects.

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