ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON POISON BAITS

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and it concerns the total irresponsibility and carelessness of Parks Victoria in their implementation of a fox baiting program at Belfast Coastal Reserve without proper consultation or justification. I call on the minister to order Parks Victoria to immediately cease their poisonous baiting programs in public spaces and prove that her agency has removed all existing lethal poison baits—both 1080 and PAPP—in these public spaces.

Recently I met with constituents in the Killarney coastal area who were rightly furious at having received a letter from Parks Victoria alerting them to a baiting program a week after baits were laid. What sort of consultation is this? Not only did Parks Victoria not consult the residents who would be affected but they are clearly careless and incompetent in their application of baiting programs. They claim the objective is to save plovers from foxes, but Birdlife Australia’s data shows that only 7 per cent of nest failures are due to foxes anyway.

The truth is Parks Victoria is a classic example of bureaucratic overkill. They created this problem by interfering in the natural order of things. Plovers, horseriders and family dogs existed happily before Parks Victoria decided to fence off native vegetation, dune areas and nesting sites. There were devastating consequences of Parks Victoria’s actions between September and October last year when they used 1080 poison. Numerous non-target animals, such as barn owls, wedge-tailed eagles, kites and even domestic dogs, died the cruellest of deaths.

Clearly Parks Victoria recognised their own failure as they recently changed their baiting program to a supposedly more humane poison, PAPP. But do not be deluded, PAPP is no less lethal—the death is just a little less horrendous than from 1080 poison. However, while Parks Victoria is busy laying new poisonous baits, there is no evidence that they have removed the existing lethal 1080 baits.

A return to a commonsense, community-based approach is necessary to resolve the disruption caused by Parks Victoria if we want to properly protect the Belfast Coastal Reserve, the local fauna, its residents and their pets.

19 February 2019