Monday, June 28, 2010

cockie chew views to minister

Back in April Council resolved to develop a local law to ban sulphur crested cockatoo feeding (see blog). Part of the resolution included lobbying the Minister for Environment, Gavin Jennings, about the ongoing issues with local cockatoos.

In May we wrote to the Minister seeking his support for our community, particularly those in the Kallista area, in relation to the destruction of property caused by cockatoos. Council asked the Minister for ongoing support from the Department of Sustainability and Environment to continue to campaign to educate the community of the risks to wild birds caused by feeding and associated dependency.

We highlighted to the Minister the many complaints we have received from residents who have suffered extensive damage to their property, in particular to window and door frames as a result of cockatoos that congregate in residential areas. Of particular concern are the properties located close to Grants Picnic Ground where feeding of cockatoos is actively encouraged through the sale of seed from the Park Kiosk.

Council has been advised by DSE experts that because the sulphur crested cockatoos have access to a ready supply of feed from the picnic grounds, they have no need to forage to naturally hone their beaks. As a result of this, the cockatoos chew away at the soft timbers of residential and public property which has resulted in many thousands of dollars of damage.

We outlined to the Minister the steps we have taken in relation to community education, also that we are developing a local law. We told the Minister that it is our preference that the community adopts changes in behaviour and stops feeding cockatoos.

We are seeking the support of the Minister to modify the licence conditions of the kiosk at Grants Picnic Ground to prohibit the selling of wild bird seed. We also asked the Minister for extensive signage to be installed in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and formal contact be made with tour operators advising users that feeding is prohibited in the national park.

It is the first step in lobbying the Minister on this issue, I hope he's listening as the cockatoos have already started chewing away again for season 2010.

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