Category Archives: Features

EPA Vic failed to act on public LEAD POISONING RISKS across Victoria, Minister’s Office evaded question

Freckled-duck_courtesy-Eleanor-Dilley

DOCUMENTS RECENTLY OBTAINED through FOI (Freedom of Information), show lead levels in ducks “well above” food safety guidelines, at four of 23 public (duck shooting) waterways around Victoria: Serpentines Creek (Western Vic), Richardson’s Lagoon (North), Heart Morass and Macleod Morass (Gippsland).

The extent of the contaminated ducks across the state is likely to be far greater because only four of eight ‘game’ duck species were tested, and only at a small number of waterways. There are thousands of public lakes, streams, creeks, rivers, reservoirs and wetlands around Victoria where duck shooting is allowed. And ducks fly.

ABOVE: Freckled Duck, courtesy Eleanor Dilley.

Lead ammunition was banned in duck shooting but is still illegally used as is reported most years. It is also used legally in native Stubble Quail shooting, including at Macleod Morass and Heart Morass, (which is understood to be protected under a Trust for Nature Covenant). Each shotgun lead cartridge holds hundreds of lead pellets. Few strike the target. The rest fall into the sediments where waterbirds pick them up, mistaking them for grit (which they use to grind their food), posing the risk of poisoning themselves, and those who eat them. This includes people and secondary predators like protected eagles. Lead fragments can remain in ducks which are hit but not killed by a shotgun blast.

Medics have long warned that lead is highly toxic to people and animals, even in tiny traces. In 2018, the CSIRO published a scathing report on Australia’s apathy towards lead ammunition.

The documents obtained by FOI show EPA grappling with what to do. One assessment says “data was too limited to make any conclusions” with another showing an EPA manager contradicting that; “Isn’t it clear?” Tests were repeated and results described as “not an error”.

Lead warnings have never been issued — not even precautionary advice since testing first identified the issue in 2018. The fact lead was found in ducks at shooting waterways across the state, has been kept from the public.

Only a few inconsistent warnings have been issued about consuming ducks at a handful of wetlands in Gippsland due to PFAS which is a different substance.

In response to a Question on Notice June 2021 (#3821), which asked directly about lead in ducks at Heart Morass and MacLeod Morass, the Minister for Agriculture (now Minister for Health) said her department was “not aware of any publicly available studies of lead levels in ducks at Heart Morass or Macleod Morass”.

Ministers have allowed four recreational duck (and quail) shooting seasons to take place since the lead issue was identified.

The Documents were obtained by not-for-profit group Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc.

Recreational duck shooting is banned in QLD, ACT, NSW and WA. In Victoria, less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks, while ongoing professional polls show most Victorians want it banned here too, with the strongest support for a ban coming from regional areas (UComms 2021).

Sue Williams — Project Manager, Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc — had this to say:

The danger to our wildlife and human populations of toxic lead ammunition, is just another reason why Victoria needs to ban the recreational shooting of ducks and quail as other states have done.

“The fact that ducks were found to have toxic lead levels outside food safety guidelines in about 20% of a small number of wetlands surveyed, and that ducks fly, suggests this danger is frighteningly widespread.

“It is simply unfathomable that the government has not issued any public warnings about the lead levels found in ducks across our state. Four recreational duck and quail shooting seasons have been allowed to proceed since the lead levels were first identified.

“We are disappointed it took a not-for-profit group to bring awareness of these matters to Victorians. Government agencies are paid millions to keep Victorians and our protected wildlife safe. We seem to be doing their job here.

“It’s disappointing EPA are saying more ducks must be killed in yet another shooting season to enable more testing, when studies performed overseas, and now here, are unambiguous. Any further shooting — particularly with lead ammunition — risks the health of people and protected wildlife. When will the Victorian government just tell bird shooters “no”?


Articles of interest:

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Who will represent you?

vote-knowingly

Know your choices.

Whether it’s the environment or the economy, the fragile state of our ecosystems or public health and safety, we all have our own concerns and are clear about what is critically important to ourselves and our families.

But it’s not always so easy to be clear about who in Parliament will best support us, or to navigate the voting system to ensure our vote goes where we want it to.

Knowing our choices.

Together with two of our Alliance partners, Australian Wildlife Protection Council and Australian Wildlife Society, RVOTDS sought feedback on party commitments pertaining to wildlife protection, habitat preservation and fire management (and therefore, regional Australia’s health and prosperity) from a number of political parties.

Based on responses received, previous track records and published policies, a summary table of their position is here: Policies and Progress PDF

RVOTDS notes the commitments by Reason Party, Animal Justice Party, The Greens, and Sustainable Australia Party, to protecting our precious native wildlife and natural environments.

We hold cautious optimism for some others also, including TNL (formerly “The New Liberals”) who are calling for a strong ICAC, climate action and ending recreational killing of native wildlife.

Here is a link to help identify who is in the running to represent you in each of the two houses: lower (House of Representatives) and lower down the link, upper (Senate).

Click here to see who you can vote for in YOUR electorate.

Making sure our vote goes where we want it to

Your preferences could be very important.

To control where your vote ends up, consider numbering as many of your preferences as you can (6 may not be enough), so it’s worth knowing a bit about the choices in advance.give your vote more teethCartoon provided by one of our valued supporters.

Some links related to the questions submitted to political parties:

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/native-species-are-in-crisis-but-you-wouldn-t-know-it-from-the-election-campaign-20220505-p5air2.html

https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2022/03/landlocked-kangaroos-trapped-by-urban-sprawl-have-nowhere-left-to-go/

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Living with the nature of Australia

sharing-chapt-MariaTaylor

AWPC is starting a ‘Living with the nature of Australia’ campaign this year. To kick it off we are gathering inspiring stories from all sectors of Australian society where people are living peacefully and to mutual benefit — whether economic, creative or positive emotional — with the native wildlife and habitats around them. We’ll employ the social media platforms at our disposal, web, YouTube, Facebook to showcase these.

Stay tuned! If you have or know of a story like this, please tell us about it. Write to awpc.office@gmail.com

Here’s a feature story from Injustice  by author Maria Taylor that explores how Australians are already living harmoniously with their native wildlife and how all sides win.

> Sharing the land with Australian wildlife: a winning experience

 

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Co-existence with our wildlife, in any backyard

co-existence-with-magpies

PEOPLE ARE SHARING off YouTube a series of delightful home videos featuring young magpies who have adopted families and individuals. Dogs also feature and there is a lot of fun with the playful magpies. The videos are said to have brought enjoyment worldwide to audiences anxious with human society and underscore the rewards of peaceful co-existence with our fellow animals on this planet.

Woman gives toys to a wild Magpie — and he invites his friends over to play

Danielle had just moved into her new home when all of a sudden, a wild magpie landed at her feet. He would follow her around and sit on her knee. Then, he brought his son over. Before long, 25 teenage magpies were playing in her yard!


Magpies sing along to harmonica (1977)

John Allen fed the magpies on his property every day. They repaid him by singing along with his harmonica playing.


Australian Magpie playing

Sqwark and Whiskey playing.


The unlikely friendship between a Gold Coast magpie and dog

They may not be birds of a feather, but this pair of unlikely friends have captured the hearts of thousands of people online.

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Victoria’s ‘progressive’ Labor government again greenlights bird cruelty, regional loss of tourism

Wood-duck_courtesy of Eleanor Dilley_RVOTDS

DESPITE INCREASING NUMBERS of Victorians demanding an end to it, another recreational native bird shoot has been approved in Victoria, causing outrage around the state.

ABOVE: Wood Duck, photo courtesy Eleanor Dilley.

Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc (RVOTDS) say the Saturday announcement seems a “pretty gutless” attempt to keep the unpopular announcement under the radar.

Announced Saturday February 26, the bird shoot will start March 16 and run for “three long months”, 25% of the year, at “so many thousands of public lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, waterways and reservoirs that no government authority has been able to estimate whether they number closer to 8,000 or 15,000, let alone signpost or monitor them”. Many shooting areas are near family homes, and most are near other recreational users.

“The Andrews government has again shown it is more concerned with a minority group of bird shooters, than regional residents and businesses” a spokesperson for RVOTDS said.

No social / economic impact studies have ever been done on anyone other than a small group of shooters. No cost-benefit analysis has been done to account for the cost to Victorians of compliance monitoring, or lost tourism, of stock being sent through fences or the inability to work from home because of shooting. Most local businesses will tell you — duck shooting does not bring the bucks. The government’s — or should we say shooters’ — propaganda is just that — propaganda to try and justify an unpopular destructive activity.”

“We challenge Mr. Andrews to bring his family to stay by a waterway in regional Victoria between March 16 and June 13. It’s time he experienced the carnage he condones.”

Ongoing polls* show most Victorians — particularly regional — want duck shooting banned. Less than half of one percent of the population take part in this pastime which other states banned long ago due to cruelty. 

At least one-in-four of the tens of thousands of birds shot each season are wounded only, flapping off to die slow painful deaths elsewhere. In fact, Game Management Authority put it at one-in-three — not that they’re doing much about it. If this cruelty happened in an abattoir it would be shut down”.

In an election year, questions hang in the community about whether the major parties are listening to constituents or favoring the whims of their financial donors.

“When our rural communities are crying out for opportunities to benefit from the booming trend of nature-based tourism which is hampered by shooting, stuck in the fifties is where this government is leaving us. Victorians deserve better.”

LINK > RVOTDS WEBSITE

*Recent polls include UComms January 2021 and RSPCA’s poll.

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Critical state of biodiversity health

biodiversity-health-critical

2021 AWPC President’s Report to membership

I WOULD LIKE to start by thanking the dedicated AWPC committee and members for their contribution in what has been a very difficult two years since my presidency commenced and for all Australian species, in seas and oceans, in the sky and on the land.

In the two years I have been privileged to be President of the AWPC in Australia, three billion native animals are estimated to have died in catastrophic fires, ten million Kangaroos and their young have been killed in the most cruel and disgraceful circumstances and authorities to kill wildlife have been issued by state and territory governments in vast numbers and for a staggering array of species. Hardly a success story, but I take comfort from a knowledgeable colleague in Canberra who says “the very worst thing would be to stop trying”. And tried we have, each and every one.

The AWPC committee and AWPC members have engaged in the following activities in support of Australian wildlife:

  • education and advocacy including submissions to politicians, particularly in Victoria and in the ACT and federally in regard to the escalating killing of kangaroos, biodiversity loss and policy, the plight of Australian birdlife, particularly duck shooting;
  • highlighting the plight of wildlife carers;
  • campaigns from NSW focusing on the use of native wildlife as petfood and co-existing with wildlife;
  • supporting state-based wildlife groups whether on behalf of kangaroo species including support with content for Kangaroos Alive on World Kangaroo Day;
  • providing information to community wildlife groups; and
  • liaison and support for international wildlife campaigns and organisations such as the Centre for Humane Economy in the United States.

We also thank our numerous partner organisations and are particularly proud of our part in the development of the International Kangaroo Protection Alliance, a grouping of international experts connecting Europe, the Middle East, the United States and the Asia Pacific to inform governments about the consequences of the exploitation, cruelty and loss of Australian wildlife, in this case the growing number of species of Kangaroo and Wallaby now exploited for commercial gain.

Over the last two years I have done numerous media interviews, a majority on radio and many overseas.

Solutions to the serious nature of extreme biodiversity loss in Australia

There is no sugar-coating of what is occurring in Australia and things have become continually worst, regardless of our efforts to slow the destruction of biodiversity. Conduct in relation to climate change is an exact parallel.

The best things we can do are:

  • to inform the public of what is occurring and what the consequences of the loss of biodiversity are, including directly to the people who live in this country;
  • to properly inform Indigenous people in Australia — who are subject to black-washing in Australia by governments and industry who are exploiting biodiversity in Australia — about the scope and scale of the destruction to their lands and species;
  • to motivate young people to take biodiversity loss as seriously as they now take climate change, the two are one in terms of their impacts on human futures;
  • to encourage those individuals with large land holdings in Australia, particularly farmers, to use modern methods of farming which include biodiversity in the landscape;
  • to finally put an end to the disgraceful and commercial exploitation of land-based Australian wildlife;
  • to think carefully about land clearing practices in Australia, which remain at scale and are intensely damaging to biodiversity and do little for economic development;
  • to look closely at increasingly silly fire mitigation practices in Australia which include burning-off at vast scale, leaving fires to burn which eventually become fire storms, to stop burning tropical wet forests (driven by financial gain and silly carbon mitigation practices) that destroy the wet tropics and create environments that are now at extreme risk of catastrophic fires;
  • to engage and inform the general public to respect those things that are Australian and have evolved here, it is beginning to happen for the plant kingdom so it can happen for fauna as well;
  • to protect the integrity of research at Australian Universities to ensure it is independent and free from influence (sadly the most important courses in major Australian Universities are being closed, this is no accident);
  • to make governments accountable for their actions; and
  • to internationalise the fight to protect Australia’s precious species.

If we don’t do these things, and fast, there will be nothing. In the end it can only be up to us, and that is everyone, and everywhere.

The AWPC and government submissions

The AWPC has had an intensive period of advocating for wildlife including submission, meetings and sometimes appearances at government inquiries, work taking hundreds of hours of research and authorship as well as sharing of knowledge to politicians and their staff and moral support of witnesses. This work remains an important part of AWPC’s contribution to wildlife conservation and survival in Australia.

We have contributed to the following inquiries during my time as President:

  • Inquiry into the health and wellbeing of kangaroos and other macropods in New South Wales.
  • Victoria’s Wildlife Act Review.
  • Victoria’s biodiversity loss inquiry.
  • Victorian Auditor’s Ramsar inquiry.
  • Inquiry into the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (joint submission).
  • AgriFutures: National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes (the way the AWPC and its committee and members were treated by this organisation can only be described as disgraceful).

The role of Governments in Australia in enabling and promoting the mass killing of Australian native species for commercial gain, sport and recreation and ‘mitigation’.

Australian mammal and bird species are in the front line of government-enabled killing activities. Australian fauna has few friends in government, all major parties are engaged in enabling its destruction. Typically governments apply the same tactics as each other to enable the mass killing of wildlife involving misleading and inaccurate information. This is a general rule, with a few exceptions, the individuals defending and caring for Australia’s wildlife are not paid for their immensely hard work and contingent suffering, while those exploiting wildlife commercially or promoting and enabling the numerous wildlife killing activities around the Australian Continent are paid handsomely for their grim conduct. This conduct is increasingly secretive (because it is so bad and they know it) while the pretence is for increasing transparency.

As I reported last year the aggressive actions by all Australian Governments in enabling the large scale killing of wildlife is and has occurred despite the catastrophic fires of the 2019–20 summer and these activities are further contributing to regional extinctions and species endangerment. As before, government actions against native species are creating significant expenditures for taxpayers who are funding the enabling of and marketing of the acceptability of the killing, a process which further demeans the Australian species being targeted.

A classic example of government conduct promoting and enabling the killing of wildlife was my visit to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to meet politicians in Canberra regarding the killing of Kangaroos in the territory’s parks and reserves. I visited the ACT Legislative Assembly with leading wildlife experts and concerned individuals to meet with Greens MP Jo Clay and her staff.

Among other things Jo is the spokesperson for ‘Active Travel and Road Safety, Planning, Parks and Conservation, Animal Welfare’. The Greens are now a powerful force in the ACT yet they remain determined killers of Kangaroos in the territory while the ACT’s Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, also a Green and defender of the killing and cruelty (based on nonsense) refused to see our group. So the killing of Kangaroos in the ACT went ahead again this year despite the vast array of evidence that shows it should not have occurred and despite the great loss of biodiversity in the ACT from climate-related fire storms. The Greens in the ACT have yet again been no friend to Australian wildlife, happily this has not been the case in NSW and Victoria where the Greens have been very supportive of efforts to safeguard the future of Australian species.

While the general assumption is that Liberal and National Coalition Governments are the worst when it comes to protection of wildlife, Labor can surprisingly be worse, as has been the case in Victoria since 2014. The Queensland Government is also particularly terrible. My advice to the national leadership of the Labor Party, and particularly Anthony Albanese, is to take a very close look at what is being done to the natural world in states where Labor is in power and to look carefully at those parts of the public service that are promoting and enabling the mass killing activities within those states.

Cruelty to wildlife

There is no doubt in my mind that the conduct of governments in Australia contributes to the ‘entitlement’ of those harming wildlife, either believing theirs is a valid cause or giving them the confidence that the most extreme acts of cruelty will never be investigated or prosecuted.

Again a top-line example here is what is being done to Kangaroo and Wallaby species in Australia. An update to the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes (the Code) was released on Wednesday 18 November 2020. The protections for Kangaroos were further weakened by this update.

The purpose of these codes of practice in relation to Kangaroos in Australia are twofold:

  • To legitimise extreme acts of cruelty which would otherwise be illegal by negating animal cruelty legislation; and
  • To create the impression for consumers, particularly overseas consumers, that Australia’s trade in wildlife, in this case members of the Kangaroo family, is humane and is closely managed for compliance, nothing could be further from the truth.

Governance standards relating to wildlife

We note a general lack of compliance inspection activities in relation to killing of wildlife while governments, both politicians and public servants, claim the opposite in their correspondence with those raising concerns about what is being done to wildlife generally or individuals reporting actual crimes against wildlife and related activity.

While incorrect claims continue to be made by governments regarding compliance matters, sustainability and animal welfare standards and cruelty, and Victoria is an example, complex inter departmental and agency structures are deliberately created to diffuse accountability and responsibility for what are extreme acts of cruelty, lack of compliance and highly dubious and likely inaccurate constructs on which decisions are based, making it impossible for complainants and wildlife experts to improve the situation for wildlife.

Commercial trade in wildlife in Australia

The issues created by the commercial trade in wildlife and the horrors associated with it are starkly revealed by the New South Wales Government Inquiry into the health and wellbeing of kangaroos and other macropods in New South Wales. I suggest you read the report (the draft of which was heavily amended by the Coalition Government and Labor) as well as reading the transcripts and submissions.

In Victoria the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos includes the following facts:

  • Much of the commercial killing is occurring on land that is not farmed — Dunkeld is a classic example of this;
  • The killing rate of Kangaroo species subject to commercial exploitation has near tripled since the introduction of the Kangaroo Pet Food Trial in 2014 — this is completely unsustainable;
  • Claims that for 2021 that the population of Grey Kangaroos in the State had increased by 41 percent are not credible, nor possible;
  • Commercial permits in Victoria for killing Kangaroos — the Victorian Government’s own authorisation to shooters based on which commercial wildlife licenses are issued Conditions of Authorisation under section 28A of the Wildlife Act 1975, to hunt, take, destroy, possess, dispose of and sell Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Western Grey Kangaroos in accordance with the approved Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2021–2023 clearly states that “Kangaroos with obvious dependent young must not be shot”. The last figures I have from DELWP, which are recent show that 30 percent of the Kangaroos killed for commercial purposes are now female and in a recent period 14,000 females have been killed resulting in the death of 13,800 joeys (so this destroys three generations of Kangaroos in one go, how is this sustainable?). This also says a great deal about the standards of governance in Victoria, total lack of any compliance and action resulting in clear breaches of the regulations; and
  • For the government to suggest what is done to Kangaroos is humane is nonsense, the global Internet is full of the most heinous images of commercial and non-commercial shooters abusing Kangaroos and these images are available to governments around the world, some of which are now taking action to ban Kangaroo products, in the case of the United States, this is occurring purely on grounds of EXTREME cruelty.

Each state has precisely the same issues. My view is that South Australia is the worst of an extremely bad bunch when it comes to the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos, the state also has a catastrophic record of native species loss and endangerment.

My view is that there are at least three species in the Macropod family that are being exploited commercially that should be on the threatened species list, these are from South Australia, the Sooty Kangaroo and Tammar Wallaby from Kangaroo Island and the Forester Kangaroo in Tasmania. To go after these species commercially demonstrates just how shockingly poor the standards are in terms of safeguarding the future of Australian wildlife.

Australian Birdlife

Regardless of climate conditions and significant declines in waterbird populations, the mass killing of birdlife continues. In Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria this year the killing of waterbirds continued despite COVID and the objections of the vast majority of residents who want the killing to stop.

In the Northern Territory (NT) the Magpie geese and waterfowl season commenced on private land on 16 August and on public land on 22 September. The killing will finally stop for the season on 10 January 2022. Waterbird species being killed this year in the NT are the Magpie goose, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Hardhead duck, Wood Duck, Wandering Whistling Duck and Pink-eared Duck. The collateral damage to other species of these activities is also substantial. On a personal note to say I spend a lot of time in the NT in places and with cultures I love, so in relation to wildlife I have a very good understanding of how things have changed over a long period of time, my assessment of what has occurred in not positive.

The other states, (while pretending they have no mass killing events relating to waterbirds) and here NSW is a classic example, where the following duck species are shot for sport (and ‘mitigation’) and often in large numbers and on private land, Australian Shelduck, Australian Wood Duck, Black Duck, Blue-winged Shoveler, Chestnut Teal, Grass Whistling Duck, Grey Teal, Hardhead Duck, Pink-eared Duck and Water Whistling Duck.

We should not forget the mass killing of native quail species for recreation, typically in those states with a duck shooting season encompassing public lands.

Ramsar sites

The state of Ramsar sites in Australia can be appalling, littered with rubbish, parts of dead birds, shot and associated gun waste, plastic and alcohol containers. Meanwhile in the ‘official’ bird-shooting states and territories the prime economic benefit of Ramsar sites is not being achieved, these things are tourism, nature-based tourism including the international circuit of twitchers and those interested in wildlife and other non-violent recreational activities. These alternate uses have a much greater regional benefit than 12-week seasons of bird shooting. I dislike visiting these places at any time of year because of what we know goes on there.

Killing of Australian wildlife in National and State Parks

I have become increasingly concerned about the number of native animals being killed by environment departments on public lands and wildlife rescues being blocked by public servants in times of natural crisis, particularly fires, all of it amid claims of overabundance. Nonsense of course and what we are doing here is softening the ground for commercial exploitation of wildlife in State and National Parks. Victoria and the ACT are leaders in this game. In Victoria the numbers of native animals being killed by government departments, and for dubious reasons, are staggering.

Australia wildlife now in the food supply chain of zoos, both in Australia and internationally

When zoos are asking the public to donate to them because they care about Australian wildlife, little does the public suspect that zoos too are now complicit in the commercial exploitation of a growing number of Australian species. Kangaroos and Wallabies are in the frontline here.

If zoo food and petfood were not a poorly enough thought through end for Australian wildlife, the Victorian Government knows no bounds to its creativity in destroying and exploiting wildlife, introducing Kangaroo meat for preschool children on its recommended lunch menu, and doing so in a time of a zoonotic pandemic. Given China’s and Russia’s well researched concerns about the health consequences of consuming Australia’s native wildlife, one would expect Victoria’s young people deserve something better.

Exclusion fencing and Australian wildlife

Australian wildlife has fewer and fewer places to exist. Publicly funded and often vast areas of wildlife-proof fencing, some designed explicitly for entrapment, are now commonplace. These horrific fences, many at tax payers expense, are now everywhere in places you might expect to be free of them, parts of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula are one such example. These fences disrupt wildlife movements, deny access to water and food and allow the unscrupulous to shoot or run-down wildlife on mass as animals are trapped along fence lines. It is extraordinary that departments of environment encourage their construction as a way to exclude wildlife.

Rapid growth of commercial wildlife trade between Australian states and territories as wildlife exterminated in some mainland regions

Are we emptying Tasmania of its Wallabies? The answer is probably yes unless we stop a growing trend of mainland-driven commercial exploitation of Tasmanian species.

An example of what goes on is the impact just this one commercial wildlife processing plant development would have.

Some very troubling news from Central Victoria in September 2021 suggested that a local meat works wanted to open up a Kangaroo processing facility, that would, when fully operational, process 2,000 Kangaroos each week. That is 104,000 Kangaroos in one year.

In 2021, the entire commercial trade in wildlife quota for Kangaroos in Victoria this year is 95,680. So just one of a number of Kangaroo meat processing plants in Victoria, plans to process more than the quota for the whole state.

Even using the government’s inflated population numbers for the shire where the plant will be located, the entire commercial quota for that shire would be consumed in just over a week. The expectation would be that Kangaroo carcasses would be imported from elsewhere in Victoria and neighbouring states.

NSW, as its Kangaroo populations plummet, appears to be, and quietly so, importing large numbers of Wallabies from Tasmania.

Use of authorities to control wildlife

Permission to kill Australian wildlife are issued on request and are issued at scale and with increasingly lax consideration of reasons. Our view is that no, or very few, applications are refused and almost no follow-ups occur while the pretence is that Australian wildlife is protected. Here is an example of what is on the Australian kill list:

Method of killing in Victoria as recommended and authorised by the Victorian Government listed in italic after the name (supplied DELWP 25/2/2020)

  1. Australian Fur Seal — shoot
  2. Australian King-parrot — shoot
  3. Australian Magpie — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  4. Australian Magpie Lark — shoot, trap gas
  5. Australian Pelican — shoot
  6. Australian Raven — shoot
  7. Australian Shelduck — shoot
  8. Australian White Ibis — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  9. Bell Miner — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  10. Black Kite — shoot
  11. Black Swan — shoot, destroy eggs and nest
  12. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike — shoot
  13. Black-tailed Native-hen — shoot
  14. Brown Antechinus — trap gas
  15. Brown Goshawk — shoot, trap shoot
  16. Bush Rat — trap gas
  17. Cape Barren Goose — shoot
  18. Chestnut Teal — shoot
  19. Brushtail Possum — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  20. Ringtail Possum — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  21. Bare-nosed Wombat — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  22. Copperhead — shoot
  23. Crimson Rosella — shoot
  24. Dingo — shoot, trap shoot, poison
  25. Dusky Moorhen — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  26. Eastern Brown Snake — shoot
  27. Eastern Grey Kangaroo — shoot
  28. Eastern Rosella — shoot
  29. Emu — shoot (this is a particularly gruesome and cruel activity)
  30. Eurasian Coot — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  31. Fairy Martin — destroy eggs and nest
  32. Galah — shoot, trap gas
  33. Great Cormorant — shoot
  34. Grey Butcherbird — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  35. Grey Teal — shoot
  36. Grey-headed Flying-fox — shoot
  37. Hardhead — shoot
  38. Highland Copperhead — shoot
  39. Koala — secretly euthanised with Ministerial permission
  40. Laughing Kookaburra — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  41. Little Black Cormorant — shoot
  42. Little Corella — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  43. Little Crow — shoot
  44. Little Lorikeet — shoot
  45. Little Pied Cormorant — shoot
  46. Little Raven — shoot
  47. Little Red Flying-fox — shoot
  48. Little Wattlebird — shoot
  49. Long-billed Corella — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  50. Magpie Goose — shoot
  51. Mallee Ringneck — shoot
  52. Maned Duck — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot
  53. Masked Lapwing — shoot, destroy eggs and nest
  54. Musk Lorikeet — shoot
  55. Noisy Friarbird — shoot
  56. Noisy Miner — shoot, trap gas, trap shoot, destroy eggs and nest
  57. Pacific Black Duck — shoot
  58. Pacific Heron — shoot
  59. Pied Currawong — shoot
  60. Pink-eared Duck — shoot
  61. Plumed Whistling-duck — shoot
  62. Purple Swamphen — shoot, destroy eggs and nest
  63. Purple-crowned Lorikeet — shoot
  64. Rainbow Lorikeet — shoot
  65. Red Kangaroo — shoot
  66. Red Wattlebird — shoot
  67. Red-bellied Black Snake — shoot
  68. Red-necked Wallaby — shoot
  69. Red-rumped Parrot — shoot
  70. Richard’s Pipit — shoot
  71. Rufous Night Heron — shoot
  72. Satin Bowerbird — shoot
  73. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet — shoot
  74. Silver Gull — shoot, trap gas, destroy eggs and nest
  75. Silvereye — shoot
  76. Straw-necked Ibis — shoot
  77. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo — shoot, trap gas
  78. Swamp Rat — trap gas
  79. Swamp Wallaby — shoot
  80. Tammar Wallaby — shoot (curious indeed, SA mainland species thought extinct until recently)
  81. Tiger Snake — shoot
  82. Water Rat — shoot, trap gas
  83. Welcome Swallow — shoot, trap shoot, destroy eggs and nest
  84. Western Brown Snake — shoot
  85. Western Grey Kangaroo — shoot
  86. White-faced Heron — shoot
  87. White-winged Chough — shoot, trap gas
  88. Yellow Rosella — shoot
  89. Yellow-faced Honeyeater — shoot
  90. Yellow-footed Antechinus — trap and gas
  91. Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo — shoot
  92. Yellow-throated Miner — shoot.

The list and number of wildlife to be ‘controlled’ in Victoria are greater than those shown above (which are all on the kill list). It should be noted that within the government tables that provide this information there is an UNSPECIFIED category, which according to the environment department, means scare. While the UNSPECIFIED category has been applied as an alternative in the government table and to many of the species above, there is little evidence, and the department has not been able to provide any, that scaring is an option that is much used for those species listed above (flying foxes and a couple of bird species aside). The bullet is by far the most favoured method of ‘control’.

Climate change and Australia

We all already know too much about COP26 and what happened there. So what do Australian GHG emissions really look like? Having a good sense of what is actually happening is so important to the future of Australia’s biodiversity. I would like you all to think about the Great Barrier Reef as an indicator of how poorly Australia’s biodiversity is factored into the Australian Government’s attitudes to climate change and its impacts, which for Australian species is profound.

For an understanding of what the situation looked like pre-COVID, the Australian Greenhouse Gas Inventory suggests that in 2019 total (all sectors) GHG emissions fell by 0.9 percent compared with 2018, these emissions should fall by 7.6 percent on average each year over 2020 to 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the period. Here are our main comments:

  • Renewable energy’s share of electricity emissions was the main reason for lower emissions, with black coal generation falling in the fourth quarter of 2019. To the lowest level in three years. New South Wales sourced 19 percent of electricity generation from renewables, Victoria 23 percent. Share has continued to increase to 2021.
  • The 2019 drop, however, was much less than required to meet Paris Accord targets.
  • In 2020 the trend is to lower electricity consumption as Covid-19 impacts became evident and also for lower liquid fuels for transport.
  • Demand has grown at an annual average of 3.7 percent per annum, so would be 50 percent higher in 2030 than today. To reach climate change targets all the new capacity would have to be fossil free. Trends have been moderated by COVID lockdowns including a reduction in demand of around 10 percent in the City of Melbourne, while demand in the outer suburbs of Melbourne has increased. High levels of solar uptake will continue to reduce demand for fossil fuel generated electricity as will the collapse in migration during the COVID period.
  • AEMO, in an April 2020 study, reported that the main electricity grid could accommodate up to 75 percent renewables by 2025 if the system were effectively transformed and managed. Without actions to ensure grid stability, wind and solar generation would have to be curtailed (not accepted into the grid) by 50 to 60 percent of their potential contribution. This would threaten the viability of wind and solar projects.
  • Fuel efficiency standards are urgently needed in Australia but are being resisted by the Federal Government. Australian transport sector emissions now account for about 18 percent of total national emissions, but the transport sector lacks any real climate change policy action. In its 2020 annual report, the National Transport Commission found the average new car emissions were just 0.2 percent lower than 2018. This level trails that of most developed countries. Recent media suggests that Australia is now becoming the dumping ground for higher emitting vehicles which would be illegal in other countries.
  • Apart from electricity sub-sector emissions, which are reducing due to renewables (wind and solar) penetrations, emissions are rising in non-electricity stationary, transport, fugitives, industrial processes, agriculture and waste sub-sectors where there are virtually no policies or programs addressing emission reductions apart from the A$3.5 billion Climate Solutions Fund mainly directed at agriculture, land-use/land-use change and forestry.
  • The bushfires across Australia in 4Q 2019 and 1Q 2020 likely caused emissions to reach almost double 2019 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory measured emissions but are not included in the inventory as it is assumed that regrowth sequesters these emissions. Given the catastrophic nature of what occurred this is extremely unlikely.
  • If Australian fossil fuel exports were factored into Australia’s emissions, its contribution to global emissions would be in the region of 3.5–4 percent rather than 1.3 percent. This would make Australia the world’s sixth-largest contributor to climate change, by far the highest per capita emissions on Earth. Hard to measure, our view remains that fugitive emissions (particularly Methane) from fossil fuel production, including coal, remain significantly understated in Australia’s reporting systems and may have a significant impact on total emissions from this continent.

We all live in this world and we should have the basic sense to look after it.

— Peter Hylands
President, Australian Wildlife Protection Council

November 2021

IMAGERY: Habitat loss and climate extremes contributing to loss of diversity of native Australian wildlife.

 

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