Re­view’s plain lan­guage queried

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Quick News - By JON BAS­SETT

VOL­UN­TEER coun­ters of threat­ened Carn­aby’s black-cock­a­toos are scep­ti­cal if a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­view of Swan Coastal Plain de­vel­op­ment will help the birds.

“It’s hard to get your head around the re­view, as it is sup­posed to as­sist the en­vi­ron­ment by let­ting de­vel­op­ers know where and where not they can build,” Friends of Un­der­wood Av­enue Bush­land spokes­woman Mar­garet Owen said.

In April, the Birdlife WA-backed Sixth Great Cocky Count used 600 coun­ters to record the birds at 290 South-West sites, and found the Univer­sity of WA-owned 33ha Un­der­wood Av­enue site in Shen­ton Park had 159 Carn­aby’s, with 114 at nearby Hol­ly­wood Hos­pi­tal, out of an es­ti­mated 6671 on the Swan Coastal Plain, the bird’s WA strong­hold.

A 15 per cent an­nual drop in Carn­aby’s over­all num­bers in the past six years caused the coun­ters to warn that the species could be ex­tinct on the plain in the next 15 to 20 years if prime habi­tat sites such as Un­der­wood Av­enue, the hos­pi­tal and the Gnan­gara Pine Plan­ta­tion were not pro­tected.

Mrs Owen said the in­tel­li­gent birds now re­lied on the site’s pine nuts, after their nat­u­ral banksia wood­land had been used for de­vel­op­ment but the univer­sity’s plans to use about half of its Un­der­wood Av­enue land for hous­ing still needed Can­berra’s ap­proval.

Pro­tect­ing Carn­aby’s is one of the is­sues be­ing con­sid­ered by Can­berra’s Strate­gic As­sess­ment of the Perth and Peel Re­gions, cov­er­ing 900,000ha, which is now man­aged by the State Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Premier and Cab­i­net.

A depart­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive re­cently told a WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion zone meet­ing in Mos­man Park that fed­eral and state plan­ning on the plain had been “piece­meal”.

She said the as­sess­ment would con­sider the birds’ plight, the ef­fect of fer­tiliser run-off on es­tu­ar­ies and frag­mented na­tive veg­e­ta­tion and could also al­low “steam­lin­ing” of laws so that de­vel­op­ment pro­po­nents do not need Can­berra’s nod.

WA En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cobs said the Carn­aby’s de­cline could also be at­trib­uted to drought, car strikes and pine clear­ing.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d425611

Friends of Un­der­wood Av­enue Bush­land’s Mar­garet Owen and Heidi Hardisty fear for the fu­ture of Carn­aby’s black-cock­a­too. Right: A pair of the birds at Un­der­wood Av­enue.

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