issue revolves around a Government decision to stop issuing shooting permits
to farmers. Under the permit system, the number of bird kills per grower
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
"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.