MORE REACTION

The uncontrolled, unmonitored slaughter of protected Adelaide and Yellow Rosellas and Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets by commercial fruit growers in South Australia was first allowed by the then South Australian Minister for Environment, Dorothy Kotz for a period of 1 year from the 26th of May 1999. The current Minister for Environment Iain Evans has allowed the slaughter to continue for the Adelaide Rosellas and the Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets.

This action is now receiving world wide publicity.

The article below is reproduced with the kind permission of the Eastern Courier Messenger newspaper.


The Eastern Courier Messenger, Thursday March 7th 2001


NATIVE BIRD CULL
Environment Minister Iain Evans's letter says his decision on bird killing
"was not taken lightly", but his letter raises more questions than it answers.
Minister's conflicting statements
Environment Minister Iain Evans has written to the Eastern Courier Messenger (see page 18) to help our readers "better understand" why the Government gave farmers a licence to shoot as many native birds as they wished. Last month, we reported that baby parrots and lorikeets were left starving in their nests because their parents had been shot by farmers. Andrew Faulkner is unimpressed with the Minister's response:
THE issue revolves around a Government decision to stop issuing shooting permits to farmers. Under the permit system, the number of bird kills per grower was capped.
  However, under the new system orchardists and grape growers can shoot as many parrots and lorikeets as they like.
  Mr Evans, in his letter, says the decision "was not taken lightly". But his letter raises more questions than it answers. Firstly, Mr Evans claimed growers were consulted about the removal of the permit system.
  As already reported in the Eastern Courier Messenger, both the apple and pear, and cherry grower groups said they were not consulted. And grape growers said they never asked for the changes.
  Asked to clarify the claim in his letter, Mr Evans confirmed the cherry and grape growers were not consulted. And last month, the SA Apple & Pear Growers' Association general manager Trevor Ranford stated his organisation had never been asked for its opinion of the change to the permit system.
   Also, Mr Evans' letter conflicts with statements by the deputy director of SA's Parks and Wildlife Department Peter Alexander.
  Last month Mr Alexander told the Eastern Courier Messenger that the push to scrap the permit system came from within the department, not in response to lobbying from orchardists' lobby groups. When the apparent conflicts were put to Mr Evans, he

promised to call us back, three times. Eventually he managed to pinpoint the problem.
   "I've checked. I'm right and Trevor Ranford is also right.
   "When Dorothy (Kotz) was Minister there was no consultation with grower groups.
  "I'm advised there was no consultation in the first year."
  But now the shooting system was reviewed each year by a committee which included farmer representatives. And he confirmed the new system was generated entirely in the bureaucracy.
  It enabled public servants to spend less time writing permits so they could concentrate on framing "farm management plans" and "codes of practice".
   Mr Evans is unmoved by a protest campaign spearheaded by overseas environmental groups who have vowed to boycott South Australian wine until the shooting stops.
  "We aren't looking at making any radical change to it (the unrestricted shooting) this year."
  "In his letter, Mr Evans says the Government wants to establish "positive and cooperative relationships" with landholders.
  Coming up with a real solution to growers' bird problems - a tax rebate for protective tree netting for example - would be a good start.

Declaration of Interest: Andrew Faulkner has relatives who own cherry, apple and pear orchards in the Adelaide Hills.


Return to Conservation Issues pageReturn to Conservation Issues