Alexandra Appleman wrote:
> ...Next we drove to the Marine Parks office at Dungeness, a few kilometres
> away to find the office closed and a 1800 telephone number for Marine
> Wildlife posted on the door. Norm got to a public phone and rang the
> number. He spent several mniutes talking to a young lady at the
> Environmental Protection Agency in Brisbane...At least she had heard of
> Dugongs, Hump backed whales and marine turtles and dutifully took down all
> the details.
> Later, back in Townsville Norm rang the Dungeness office again (no answer),
> then rang the Townsville office. No-one from Brisbane had called to tell them
> about the turtle, which rather defeats the purpose of having a 1800 number
> for the public to ring. Yesterday, Norm rang the Dungeness office again and
> finally got through to someone. Again no message had got through. "What
> about the one I left on your answering machine?" he asked. Another silence.
> Queensland does have an Environment policy - it's to protect areas that have
> no other economic value and to rely on volunteers to count the birds and
> provide them with stats and to help save whatever forms of wildlife might be
> out there.
> Alex Appleman
I can understand your frustration there, Alexandra; I've experienced similar
frustration driving through the Hills around Adelaide and seeing gorse, broom,
watsonia etc. etc. and thinking why isn't more done to get rid of this, why
isn't more done to protect our native treasures. I feel the need to get in
there and get rid of such pests - as a volunteer, I do a lot of it anyway! And
in all fairness to our Parks officers and other related disciplines, for the
most part there seems to be a dearth of time and money. I did several weeks of
field experience at a southern CP in SA, clearing trails, pulling weeds,
constructing campgrounds etc. And the biggest lament of the senior ranger there
was that he had become a ranger because he loved the bush. Yet he must spend
the majority of his time working out budgets, going between the park and
Adelaide trying to garner more $$ for the park so they can do what needs to be
done. He said he had not been out in the field, doing what we as volunteers
were doing, for 'ages'. He was no less passionate about what we were doing,
and what needed to be done, than we were; but bureaucratic necessity dictated
he fight for every cent he could get for the running of the park.
As for the EPA in Brisbane, when I was at uni in 1992 we were told there was 1
EPA investigation officer for the whole of SA; I'm not sure how accurate that
is, but I do know there are not enough people to cover all the bases. A recent
report stated that $13.2million of allocated funding for the Environment
Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs had yet to be spent in the last financial year.
Perhaps greater staffing levels could be one area where the $ could be spent -
certainly sounds like the case in Qld. But then, taking into consideration Syd
Curtis' recent posting, it seems that conservation and protection of our native
flora and fauna is the furthest thing from any Qld politicians 'mind'...
On that note, did anyone see the Channel 9 news here in SA on monday night,
there was going to be an article on why planting trees has been the wrong thing
to do? I missed this, but if anyone out there saw it could you let me know what
it was about? Was it about understorey, or just don't plant trees? Please
assuage my curiosity, someone!
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