Beverley McArthur MP
Member for Western Victoria Region
Is Poison the Answer?
Mismanagement of the Belfast Coastal Reserve
Bev McArthur, Member for Western Victoria Region, met with a number of concerned residents in the Killarney coastal area who recently received a notice from Parks Victoria concerning a new fox bating program. They received notice of the program on the 5th February. Meanwhile, baits had already been laid on 30th January. What sort of consultation is this?
Why are Parks Vic laying poisonous bates anyway? To supposedly save plovers from foxes. However, over an extended period, other animals have been victims of their poisoning program. During an intensified baiting program from September – October 2018, Parks Victoria used 1080 poison; resulting in the deaths of barn owls, wedge tailed eagles, kites and even domestic dogs. Who knows what other unsuspecting animals died as a result of this poison that is problematic unless used in very controlled situations. Public spaces can never be controlled environments.
Clearly, Parks Victoria have admitted their own failure by recently changing their poison of choice, from 1080 to para-amino propiophenone (PAPP). While Parks Victoria claim that PAPP baits are ‘more humane’ there is no evidence that Parks Victoria actually removed the existing 1080 baits which continue to cause non-target animal deaths.
In any case, what evidence can Parks Victoria provide which points to an out-of-control fox population to warrant the baiting program in the first place? Interestingly, the plovers were nesting happily in the Belfast Reserve when recreational horse riding and off-leash dogs were present in the dunes. Since Parks Victoria fenced off dune areas for plover nesting sites, thereby restricting horse and dog movement, foxes have no doubt gained easier access to the plovers.
The mismanagement of the Belfast Coastal Reserve is yet another classic case of bureaucratic overkill, emanating from within the tram tracks of Melbourne. Indeed, the administration of the area is counter-intuitive to the very slogan of Parks Victoria - “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” as the welfare of both animals and people in the Killarney region are disregarded, even disadvantaged. A return to a common-sense approach for the management of the Belfast Coastal Reserve would see a better outcome for plovers, the environment and the local community without the need for dangerous poisons in public places.
Beverley McArthur MP calls on the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to justify this new baiting program that will be in place for the next 18 months with no evidence that they have removed the old, very dangerous 1080 baits. The Belfast Coastal Reserve Management Plan, which is yet to be gazetted, has serious and considerable questions that are as yet unanswered.
14 February 2019