Update: Subsequent to the bush fires, both the South Australian and Victorian governments have suspended kangaroo harvest in their respective states. That's what it took to get their attention. Here is a letter from past president of Australian Wildlife Protection Council requesting this. To: [email protected]ment.vic.gov.au
I would like to wish you a happy new year to you, your family and staff.
Like all Australian's and people around the world my heart goes out (and made a number of small donations) to those effected by these unprecedented fires burning across the country for months now.
In the past week more information is coming out about the plight of our wildlife with an estimated 450,000 plus wildlife effected. As a wildlife rescuer I understand that the priority is for recovery, treatment and food drops for wildlife is essential at this point in time, with the knowledge that these fires are still continuing.
As the state government has rightly so taking actions to support people and rebuild communities effected, I would like to know what actions the government is taking to access the damage to wildlife species recovery and protection to ensure their survival in the future.
In particular will the government put an immediate suspension on the kangaroo pet food harvest industry in fire effected regions as well as not having a duck hunting season not only due to these fires but ongoing drought conditions?
"Bush heritage makes some rather big assertions about the impact of kangaroos at their Scottdale reserve and the impacts this wildlife species is having on the biodiversity there. If Bush Heritage is serious about their claims then they need to be a little more transparent," writes Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
"Bush Heritage Australia has forfeited the inheritance of a 350-acre property near Bega and lost numerous donors as they face backlash from a planned kangaroo cull at Scottsdale Reserve, south of Canberra. Regular supporters of the non-profit organisation have pulled donations following reports of a cull, with one referring to the organisation as "hopeless frauds". Bush Heritage aims to "conserve biodiversity" at properties either purchased or donated across Australia."http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/bush-heritage-australia-faces-backlash-after-kangaroo-culling-claims-20160708-gq1fpa.html
They can start by answering and providing information to the following questions
- When do they class a wildlife species as being over abundant?
- What is a sustainable kangaroo population at Scottdale Reserve?
- What is the roos' population current range in and around their reserve?
- Are there any neighbouring or local land uses or management practices that would see kangaroos returning to Scottdale reserve more often and in greater number?
- How many kangaroos are on the reserve day in and out?
- Has there been any scientific data of kangaroo starvation cases at Scottdale reserve or regionally before?
- While it is hard to watch an animal starve to death, it is a common condition of the natural world, in particular with drought and over abundant populations. So why do Bush Heritage feel the need to interject in a natural process, which in itself could have far bigger ecological problems?
- What is the science and guidelines being implemented by Bush heritage?
- Who are the independent experts being engaged by Bush Heritage?
- What humane methods are being developed?
- What scientific evidence can Bush Heritage provide that kangaroos are having a detrimental effect on other species?
- Has all weed habitat changing plants like serrated tussock grass been removed from Scottdale reserve and regionally?
- Do Bush heritage conduct any fuel reduction burns at Scottdale reserve?
- Is Scottdale reserve free of pest animals such as rabbits?
We hear explanations of why there are too many and debate what control measures should be taken. What is very rarely discussed is what is a sustainable population size, the roos ecological benefits and social structure. In a race to demonise our national icon for commercial vested interest or in this case a so called natural balance. The critical point missed is the roo social structure. Large alpha males control breeding within the mobs. When shooting takes place which animals are shot first? Well you can very confidently say it would be the roos who control the social structures within the mobs.
Wildlife rescuer and carer, Rebecca Koller, has observed an unprecedented number of Spectacled flying fox casualties in a traditional breeding site located near a new hotel construction in Cairnes. The spectacled flying fox is a threatened species. Despite many attempts to get the Australian government to investigate and or intervene, the government has failed to get back to her. This is even though the problem has received extensive publicity and the species is about to have its threatened status upgraded from vulnerable to endangered. The source of this article is correspondence between Ms Koller and The Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
On Wed, 3 Jan 2018 at 11:51 AM, Rebecca Koller wrote to Craig Thomson, the president of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), asking for his advice and or assistance based on his knowledge of our government and wildlife protection.
Ms Koller is a flying fox carer from Far North Queensland and the Wildlife advisor of the Cairns Flying Fox advisory board.
She has been documenting the Spectacled flying fox deaths and orphans at the Cairns Library flying fox colony. Despite numerous attempts, she had received no communication from the Australian federal government regarding her requests for it to intervene or investigate the unprecedented number of pups from this breeding season found dead or orphaned.
The camp referred to carries about 4000 flying foxes. Ms Koller says that this is a huge reduction on previous seasons. Since September 15th 2017, there were 898 flying foxes dead or orphaned from this one camp, compared with 366 last season. In her opinion and that of other wildlife carers, the increased casualties are attributable to the construction work directly across from the roost trees.
Listen to a really informative ABC FM interview with Rebecca Koller on the flying foxes:
Wildlife carer observations deserve respect; they are often all we have
The Cairns Library Colony flying fox camp is considered federally of national significance. Ms Koller has been documenting both orphans and deaths . See the record of deaths and orphans for this season and the previous one. (Females spectacled flying foxes give birth to one young per year, in the October to December period. Juveniles are nursed for over five months and, on weaning, congregate in nursery trees in the colony.)
This record of casualties in the colony has been criticised as only "anecdotal and observatory" by a spokesperson for the company, who says there is no history for comparison. Candobetter.net would say that careful observations from wildlife carers, who know the history of the colony and can point to photographs of corpses and to the animals in their care, cannot and should not be dismissed so easily. If this is the only source of a count on this species, then it is precious and deserves respect. We note that official counts do not monitor the Cairns breeding colonies, which is convenient for the massive development going on there, but needs urgently to be remedied.
The construction company began building what will be a multimillion dollar hotel development just prior to the birthing season. Ms Koller describes, as the only new factors in this birthing season from the previous one, the clearing of trees once occupied by the flying foxes, the presence of equipment such as pile drivers, and multiple cranes, with arms swinging directly over the roost trees. She says she has written to EHP, the threatened species commissioner, the media, and raised the subject in council meetings on numerous occasions but to no avail.
Greater protection needs to be afforded to the animals due to their decline as a species, their importance as a keystone species and the significance of this particular maternity camp.
Where to make Go Fund Me contributions to the Spectacled flying foxes in Cairns
Ms Koller has over 50 orphans in her care and had to arrange the transport of 100 orphans to the Australian Bat Clinic in Brisbane, because there were simply not enough carers in her area to cope with the number of flying foxes orphaned this season. Ms Koller crowd funded money to help support carers’ costs to care for these animals. See the wonderful baby bat pictures at https://www.gofundme.com/4m5qayg. Although she raised just over $10,000, all of this has already been used up for necessary supplies. There are still three to four unfunded months remaining before carers can begin to release the flying foxes they have raised. In addition, the birthing season has not yet ended and rescuers are still finding dead and orphaned on a daily basis.
Ms Koller met with the ecologist conducting the monitoring for the construction company and has been keeping him abreast of the bat casualty totals this year compared to the previous year.
Flying Foxes, Government, wildlife carers and wildlife protection on the ground
Craig Thomson, President of Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), congratulated Ms Koller on her actions to date and commented,
”The information to be found about this flying fox species, is a perfect example of both federal and state governments appearing to do the right thing by undertaking steps to improve protection. Such protection is, unfortunately, rarely if ever enacted or carried out on the ground, leading to the species’ existence being threatened further.”
“This is highlighted with the Spectacled flying fox species being listed as vulnerable in 2002 and a more recent public consultation seeking recommendations for its conservation status at the end of 2016.
“It would be interesting to know if the Spectacled flying fox conservation status is to be upgraded from this process or whether it was part of the work that the officer Rebecca Koller has had correspondence with, stating that "federal and state governments were working to have the same conservation status for the species".
Mr Thomson added,
“It seems disingenuous to me that the federal and state governments and agencies have been making statements such as "This spectacled flying-fox has been subject to appreciable research, monitoring and management over the last 20 years. It is a high priority species under Queensland’s “Back on Track program." See the following link http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/0e526f41-7db6-4e21-b2a2-8aa9b2b45352/files/consultation-document-pteropus-conspicillatus.pdf. It appears, despite this, that licenses can still be obtained for lethal control. Furthermore, attempts by carers and advocates like Rebecca Koller, to raise welfare concerns about these flying foxes are met with complacency and threats. Yet, they are still being called upon to rescue, rehabilitate and release them back to the wild.”
"Fortunately there is a recovery plan for the species and it is internationally protected and recognised, as such this is where we need to focus for the best outcomes. Below is a list of the 8 recovery objectives, if we are able to find proof that these objectives are not being met. It could be possible to proceed legal action."
Recovery Objectives for the Spectacled Flying Fox
Recovery Objective 1: Research practicable and cost effective flying fox deterrent systems for commercial fruit growers.
Recovery Objective 2: Identify and protect native foraging habitat critical to the survival of the spectacled flying fox.
Recovery Objective 3: Accurately assess the short and long term population size and population trends of the spectacled flying-fox.
Recovery Objective 4: Improve the public perception of the spectacled flying-fox and the standard of information available to guide recovery.
Recovery Objective 5: Increase knowledge of P conspicillatus roosting
requirements and protect important camps.
Recovery Objective 6: Improve understanding of incidence of tick paralysis and actions to minimise paralysis mortality in flying foxes.
Recovery Objective 7: Implement strategies to reduce incidence of electrocution and entanglement of P. conspicillatus.
Recovery Objective 8 Investigate the causes of birth abnormalities such as cleft palate syndrome.
Spectacled Flying Fox threatened status nominated for upgrading from Vulnerable to Endangered
SFF have been nominated under the Commonwealth threatened species legislation for up-listing from Vulnerable to Endangered.
Qld government (Labor 2015) promised to match Commonwealth threatened species listing for SFF, so when they move up the EPBC list, they should also move up the Qld thretened species listing from Vulnerable to Endangered. The Minister (Commonwealth) is expected to announce his decision on uplisting on 18 February. nomination has been considered by the TSSC and the Minister is expected to make his decision on 18 February. It has been a long wait.
International obligations for the Spectacled flying fox under CITES
The international obligations are as follows: "The spectacled flying fox is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Populations of the spectacled flying fox are recognised as values of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area and therefore under the protection of World Heritage Convention". In this regard we can always contact both CITES and the World Heritage Convention to embarrass the government's into action. The same could be said of the hotel development who is currently claiming that values of Queensland Wet Tropics World heritage area is damaging their business. While making a point of this, it would be a great opportunity to advocate for the Spectacled bats ecological and economical services. The link below is the recovery plan for the species which has both the objectives and international matters.
 The spectacled flying fox was listed as a threatened species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1991. They were considered vulnerable due to a significant decline in numbers as a result of loss of their prime feeding habitat and secluded camp sites.
This week Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, is working on a submission to oppose the rezoning of Melbourne Water land in Rosebud South. Unfortunately he has run into problems getting appropriate ecological information about the site. He wonders if the State Government and Melbourne water have deliberately made the ecological report unavailable. The fauna report relies solely on a habitat assessment and a desktop study for threatened species.
AWPC President, Mr Thomson, says that the absence of on ground fauna surveys is very alarming that there was no on ground fauna surveys. He asks,
"Is this now what happens when the state government tries to fast track rezoning crown land for commercial profit. Or, worse, has it become common practice? It seems like a little of both. Either way this lack of survey will miss the Eastern grey kangaroos, koalas, swamp wallabies and echidnas that survive on this urban fringe. It also misses the potential for threatened species to be present on site. Any potential development on this site could be the difference between extinction or survival of local biodiversity."
All submissions must be directed to the Advisory Committee and will be treated as public documents. If you would like to make a presentation at the Public Hearing, you must make a written submission and complete the relevant section of the online form.
ABZECO Biodiversity Assessment Report 16048 South East Outfall Pipeline: Jetty Road to Rosebud Avenue, Rosebud V1.0-August2016 pg22
A fauna assessment of the study area consisted of an on-foot field survey of habitat quality and a desktop assessment of the likelihood of fauna species of conservation significance occurring within the study area. A detailed zoological survey comprising a range of techniques over different seasons was not undertaken for this study as it was beyond the scope of works.
5.1 Pre-existing information search
The Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) was queried for threatened fauna species recorded within a 5 km radius of the study area (DSE 2013a). Appendix 4 provides the results of this query.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Protected Matters Search Tool (PMST) on the Commonwealth Department of Environment (DoE), website was queried to determine if any protected fauna related matters not reported in the VBA query are considered likely to occur within the study area. Species identified in the EPBC query are presented in Appendix 5.
5.2 Fauna Habitat
Vegetation in the study area is likely to provide suitable foraging and nesting habitat for a range of common fauna species such as common woodland birds and arboreal mammals such as Common Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus. However, based on habitat requirements for a range of threatened fauna species that are known to occur locally and the poor site condition and fragmented landscape, it is considered unlikely that the vegetation on the site would serve as critical or limiting habitat for significant fauna species.
The majority of threatened fauna species previously recorded within the 5km search area or predicted to occur are considered unlikely to utilise the study area. The low likelihood rating is based on various factors including, lack of suitable habitat, lack of recent database records or the predicted location being outside of the known habitat range of current species populations. One listed species, Powerful Owl Ninox strenua occupies a large home range and as such may utilise sections of the study area for occasional foraging. However vegetation throughout the site is considered unlikely to provide limiting or critical habitat for this species as the site supports few large or hollow bearing trees.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council asks Mornington Peninsula Council to investigate potential breaches at 461-469 Waterfall Gully Rd and also to ensure that important remnant vegetation and heritage listed trees are better protected from property development. At the very least Council should ensure planning applications that are granted to remove indigenous vegetation are required to have wildlife spotters on site and flora professionals the opportunity to collect seed and plant material for environmental revegetation projects.
To Antonella Celi,
[Councillor for the Seawinds Ward, Mornington Peninsula Shire]
During the council election campaign, you advocated for protecting neighbourhood character from over development. Which rightly is a concerning issue many locals feel strongly about. One such development application which has been approved and works which have started is 461-469 Waterfall Gully Rd, VCAT REFERENCE NO. P566/2016, PERMIT APPLICATION NO. P15/1026. I know this application has been raised in a number of council meetings and one you yourself have spoken out against.
While I do not have the arborist report to confirm my suspicions, I do strongly believe that works that have commenced have breached the permit. That the Mornington Peninsula council is responsible for enforcing. The breaches I believe to have occurred are listed at the bottom of the page.
I am really frustrated and angry that a manna gum that was estimated to be between 300-500yrs old could be cut down. Especially considering there was a vegetation protection overlay on the property, the tree in question was recommended to be heritage listed and I was in the process of making a heritage listing request. With the assistance of Peninsula Speaks. It is very disappointing to know council staff do not take their job seriously and defer their employment duties to community members. I really do believe if the planning department took the enquiries seriously from the public and did the job expected of them, that historical indigenous tree would have been saved. It does not surprise me with the attitude of staff, that developers are advertising the sale of houses. Before the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council approve planning applications.
I now ask that the council investigate the potential breaches at 461-469 Waterfall Gully Rd and also ensure that important remnant vegetation and heritage listed trees are better protected from property development. At the very least ensure planning applications that are granted to remove indigenous vegetation are required to have wildlife spotters on site and flora professionals the opportunity to collect seed and plant material for environmental revegetation projects.
President Australian Wildlife Protection Council
Secretary Animalia Wildlife Shelter
Treasurer Save Tootgarook Swamp Inc.
Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO1).
Design and Development Overlay (DDO1).
I believe that the above overlays should have been enough to protect the manna gum.
I believe that the following conditions have been breached,
1. (b) A vegetation removal plan which utilises the numbering in the Arborist report submitted and which shows vegetation proposed to be removed and vegetation proposed to be retained, with the vegetation to be retained being Trees 46, 62, 67, 76, 88, 93, 97, 111, 112 and 113
There are now less Eucalypt trees remaining than were meant to be protected.
12. Prior to the commencement of any building or works, appropriate tree protection fencing must be erected in accordance with Australian Standard AD4970 – 2009 (Protection of Trees on Development Sites). The tree protection fencing must remain in place until the completion of any works hereby approved.
This did not happen.
I believe The following probably has not been under taken,
13. The construction methods contained within the Arborist report endorsed under this permit must be undertaken.
Native Vegetation Offsets
15. In order to offset the removal of 0.024 hectares of remnant patches and 13 scattered trees approved as part of this permit, the applicant must provide a native vegetation offset that meets the following requirements, and is in accordance with the Permitted Clearing of Native Vegetation – Biodiversity Assessment Guidelines and the Native Vegetation Gain Scoring Manual. The general offset must:
* (a) Contribute gain of 0.063 general biodiversity equivalence units.
* (b) Have a minimum strategic biodiversity score of 0.181.
* (c) Be located within the Port Phillip and Western Port Catchment Management Authority boundary.
16. Before any native vegetation is removed from the site, evidence in the form of a credit register extract from the Native Vegetation Credit Register must be provided to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority. This offset must meet the offset requirements set out in this permit and be in accordance with the requirements of Permitted Clearing of Native Vegetation – Biodiversity Assessment Guidelines and the Native Vegetation Gain Scoring Manual.
Bearing in mind the recent Crib Point tragedy - a suspected arson attack, with wildlife loss yet to be detailed, one home destroyed and one home damaged plus several sheds destroyed, we have to be more vigilant about how and whether we develop our bushland neighbourhoods more densely. Planning laws allow property owners to remove large amounts of vegetation without permission from their land citing their reason as 'fire protection'. After the vegetation is removed, those property owners may apply to the council for permission to intensify development on the land. Council usually does not deny permission for individual cases. But such individual cases mount up and create a danger which councils and planners may not have seen. The risk is that the granting of denser housing development in a bushland area means that, if there is a fire in the remaining bushland, there will be an increased number of residents needing to evacuate. Increasing population density means that more roads are needed to cope with a fire emergency evacuation. However, densification is being allowed to happen in an ad hoc, case by case fashion, without the building of roads in advance of significant development. No-one is overseeing the total impact.
Vegetation clearing on days of total fire bans
477 Waterfall Gully Rd Rosebud 3939 Victoria.
Clearing took place on Friday 15/1/16, Monday 18/1/16 and Tuesday 19/1/16 thus far.
To date up to 45 trees and shrubs have been removed, including 4 manna gums. One which was a hollow bearing tree and one on a neighbouring property. Most of the other vegetation removed was coast tea-tree.
I called the Mornington Peninsula shire council's planning department, on the 18th and 19th of January about the clearing of vegetation. The officers I spoke to on both days confirmed that there are no permits for either vegetation clearance or an application permit for a building extension/residential development. The planning department said that the vegetation clearance was legal without a permit. As the vegetation in question was within 10 meters to the residence or 4 meters within the property boundary.
As the primary reason that fire regulations allows for the vegetation clearance. I have raised the following concerns;
No 477 Waterfall Gully residence has been unoccupied since November, when it was sold. That the first action of the owner is to remove all trees and shrubs from site would suggest it is being cleared for a development - an opinion shared by the professionals clearing the vegetation and by the surrounding neighbours.
Two of the three days the vegetation being cleared were days of total fire ban. The 18th and 19th of January were days of total fire bans. The use of multiple heavy industrial petrol operated equipment on days of total fire ban, I believe, makes a mockery of fire prevention laws.
The planning department understand my concerns and have been as helpful as they can. However there is nothing they can do to address this issue due to current regulations. So I ask your assistance in addressing flaws in the fire regulations that allow developers to exploit them. These flaws are:
To ban activities such as clearing vegetation or activities that could cause fires on days of total fire bans,
Close loop holes that developers use to clear vegetation under false pretences, which cost the Shire revenue.
Further considerations on this matter
The character of a neighbourhood defines the people and families that live in an area. Many of these people who live in community make real value contributions to the neighbourhood character by volunteering their time. It is of great disappointment that potential developers ( who more often than not, do not live in the neighbourhood) use inequities in planning laws to change a neighbourhood character for financial gain.
Health and Wellbeing
Waterfall Gully Rd/ South Rosebud is a bushy area and as such creates a certain atmosphere to the suburb. Residing in a beautiful neighbourhood therefore contributes to a mentally healthy state of its residents. The removal of trees for more dwellings creates a heat island. As our population ages heat stress related illnesses is becoming a more of an issue. Noise pollution from vegetation clearance and building is another factor of having a major impact on health and well being.
Overdevelopment and emergencies
Planning laws allow property owners to remove large amounts of vegetation without permission from their land citing their reason as 'fire protection'. After the vegetation is removed, those property owners may apply to the council for permission to intensify development on the land. Council usually does not deny permission for individual cases. But such individual cases mount up and create a danger which councils and planners may not have seen. The risk is that the granting of denser housing development in a bushland area means that, if there is a fire in the remaining bushland, there will be an increased number of residents needing to evacuate. Increasing population density means that more roads are needed to cope with a fire emergency evacuation. However, densification is being allowed to happen in an ad hoc, case by case fashion, without the building of roads in advance of significant development. No-one is overseeing the total impact. Most people who choose to live in bushland area would not approve of significant intensification of development. They would need to be alerted to any plans to build new roads for a planned increase in population and would probably object to significantly increased population plans. They are not being alerted, the roads are not being built, but the densification is happening in an unplanned fashion. This is dangerous. If a fire emergency was to threaten South Rosebud, Jetty Rd is the main route to escape!
Even though wildlife are protected, there never seems to be any enforcement to protect them. Up to 45 trees and shrubs were cleared at 477 Waterfall Gully Rd. What happens to those animals who have now lost their home?
“Avoid culling roos for development by planning wildlife corridors,” says Craig Thomson, AWPC’s new Wildlife Planning Officer. In the face of state planning avoidance of obligation towards wildlife, Mr Thomson and AWPC want to crowdfund the purchase of private land to preserve wildlife corridors from being fenced off by farmers or built over by suburbia. The situation is increasingly dire for kangaroos and koalas particularly. Please consider helping this initiative. Contact details at end of article.
On Monday 7 December 2015, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) announced its appointment of Mr Craig Thomson, of Wildlife Ecosystems Retention and Restoration, as their Wildlife Planning Officer.
"It's a great privilege to work with AWPC," said Mr Thomson. "Currently with land clearing for development, councils require ‘offsets’. But offsets very rarely consider what happens to displaced wildlife, except for 'managing' it, which is a euphemism for conducting 'cull' or 'fertility' programs.
Maryland Wilson, AWPC President, said she was shocked to read of Ian Temby's recent call to cull kangaroos ahead of development as the only option for roos displaced by Melbourne's expansion. ("Call for kangaroos to be culled along Melbourne's urban fringe,”by Simon Lauder, ABC, 30 Nov 2015).
"There is another non-violent solution," she said. "It is a scandal that we have suffered through a succession of planning documents for Melbourne, without any allocating land for habitat with interconnecting continuous wildlife corridors that would enable safe passage for native animals. They have also failed to provide more than a tiny handful of animal bridges and underpasses at significant points on roads where wildlife often cross. Kangaroos, koalas, and other wildlife are increasingly road accident victims. As Melbourne expands to accommodate its human population growth program, suburban development pushes them out onto roads. This is planning negligence. "
AWPC says it has repeatedly engaged with councils in devising detailed plans for wildlife corridors. To date, however, no state government has cooperated with these plans, despite obligations to protect wildlife under the Fauna and Flora Guarantee Act.
"Instead, we have been repeatedly stone-walled. The result is the carnage Mr Temby suggests can only be avoided through culls. AWPC will be seeking a meeting with the Andrews State Government to negotiate for wildlife corridors instead of culling," said President Maryland Wilson.
Mr Thomson spoke of an imminent campaign to buy land on the Mornington Peninsula through crowd-funding. The aim is to create a private land reserve system for a wildlife corridor between national parks to sustain wildlife in the future. He says the matter is urgent as suburban development and a recent spate of farm-fencing are blocking the kangaroos' natural behaviour on the Peninsula.
Mr Thomson added, "It is ironic that some farmers are paying a lot of money for services that kangaroos would provide for free. For instance, vineyards spend much time and money keeping grass and weeds down between the vines. But, if they took down the fences and let the kangaroos in, the roos would not eat the vines, but they would keep the grass short."
Craig Thomson, Greens candidate for Nepean, is an indigenous vegetation expert and rehabilitator who works mostly on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. When he heard that the outgoing Liberal Government had quasi locked-in a private public development of hot mineral baths with a 50 yr lease in Victoria's Point Nepean National Park, on the day that government went into caretaker mode, he was horrified. This short video was made very quickly before the election black out in the hope of educating people about the value of Point Nepean National Park, of all public lands, and the need to preserve it for ourselves, our children and our indigenous animal and plants. Craig, who is a candidate for the Greens in this election (Victorian Elections November 2014) is also a wildlife rescuer with Animalia. He is a kind and inspiring man with a love for plants, animals, fairness and his community. In this film we also catch glimpses of his daughters, Eve and Rose, who Craig cares for as a single parent.
Submission against 11.8 Request for Planning Scheme Amendment Stotts Lane. by Craig Thomson, wildlife carer
The proposed Amendment seeks to rezone the land from RCZ3 (Rural Conservation Zone Schedule 3) to Neighbourhood Residential Zone, include the site within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), remove the Green Wedge and apply a Development Plan Overlay (DPO) to the site. These changes also require consequential changes to the Land Use Framework Plan and the Housing Framework Plan in the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS).
Whittling away of green wedge in Frankston threatens wildlife
As a wildlife rescuer I am expressing my concerns that of the rezoning of 42 hectares from the green wedge at Stotts Lane. These concerns are for the welfare of the local wildlife and the added pressure placed on voluntary wildlife groups who have provided the Frankston city council a free service for over 25 years.
Habitat clearance is the greatest threat that faces our wildlife today and the land in question would further deplete what was a significant bio-link between the listed RAMSAR Seaford wetlands and the listed RAMSAR Westernport wetlands.
This land is an important habitat corridor for Koalas. Every spring male koalas migrate from Cranbourne Botanical gardens to mate with the female population that lives in Frankston South. Since the opening of Peninsula link there has been two male koalas killed on the freeway, and if this vital link was lost the South Frankston Koala population would be locally extinct in a number of years.
With the continual loss of habitat in this area especially due to the new freeway, and with very little to no offsets found in the city of Frankston. There is increased competition for habitat amongst wildlife, and as such more vulnerable species such as sugar gliders and woodland birds especially the likes of the eastern yellow robin will also become locally extinct.
With the loss of habitat and increased volume of traffic and increased number of domestic animals for such housing on green wedge land, local wildlife shelters are faced with a number of problems:
1 An increase of wildlife that needs care
2 Less habitat to release rehabilitated wildlife
1 We need to find more volunteers to help run our shelters
2 We need find more funds to rehabilitate and feed wildlife
3 If we are unable to meet those needs we have limit our services which obviously causes stress to both us and the community member we are unable to help.
4. If we are unable to find suitable habitat to release wildlife we have to look at other areas for releasing wildlife reducing genetic viability and biodiversity of an area.
Secretary Animalia Wildlife Shelter
PO Box 4002 Frankston Heights
NB: Stotts Lane was part of the Mornington Peninsula Shire. There has also been a lot of work on this as well by Barry Ross and the Frankston Environmental Friends Network. This story has massive implications for the green wedges of Melbourne and of course the future survival of Koalas in sth Frankston. This issue should become the focal point of it instead of a housing development and benefit a greedy developer who lives in Toorak.
The site forms part of the Mornington Peninsula Green Wedge and lies outside the UGB. Frankston City Council’s Environment Department have concerns about changes to the UGB (urban growth boundary) generally, and more specifically in the Stotts Lane area because of potential impacts on a habitat link along the Peninsula Link corridor.
Coincidently, Planning Minister recently claimed that Melbourne has 25 years for more housing expansion, at the expense of native habitats, food bowls and wildlife.
“We now have a complete picture for Victoria. It’s clear that there is plenty of land for future development and plans to maintain supply. It is critical that we continue to identify land to drive industry, jobs and housing growth in regional centres,” Mr Guy said.
Perhaps our Premier and Planning minister Matthew Guy should spend a day rescuing wildlife hit on the roads, feeding them and trying to do the unenviable task of finding land to release native animals being squeezed off their territories by predatory urbanisation!