Closed outback areas

To: Tony Russell <>
Subject: Closed outback areas
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 12:13:23 +1000
Tony -

At 10:46 PM 28/09/00 +0930, you wrote:
>does no comment indicate that you have dropped the issue?

This is not just a single issue:

# 1. The SA Pastoral Act

If you don't like it, lobby to get it amended.  Birders are only a small
fraction of the people affected one way or another.  It is state
legislation; get state organisations - SAOA, FNSSA, AOC, NCSSA, bushwalking
and 4WD groups etc - to get together and decide on desirable changes and
make a joint submission.  A better way (if there is enough common sense and
goodwill around) would be to get together with all stakeholders (including
SA pastoralists) and come up with some way of reconciling all concerns.
Birds Australia would be happy to have some input, but it is much more than
just a birding issue.  Be cynical about it if you must, but don't knock it
if you haven't tried it.

# 2.  Accountability of leaseholders for sustainable management

Answer - the right mix of education, incentive and legislative control.  SA
may be doing better than other states in this respect but I am sure that
there is room for improvement.  Again - this MUCH bigger than just birding;
we all need to have a say.

# 3.  The right of birders to wander freely across all crown land

Remember - it is not just birders who wish to do this.  Leaseholders have
an obligation to manage the lands they lease and they can have problems
with people behaving ignorantly, carelessly, irresponsibly and maliciously.
 Do they have no control whatsoever?  Where do you draw the line?  Should
they be able to stop people driving 4WDs?  People with dogs?  People with
guns?  People with chainsaws?  Drunks?  People on bikes without adequate
water?  People with ghetto-blasters?  People carrying well-thumbed copies
of "The Complete Bustard Cookbook"?  Should Birds Australia be able to stop
people in any of these categories visiting Gluepot Reserve?  Go back to # 1.

# 4.  The role of BA

Birds Australia is already - through the Atlas and other projects - doing
its best to educate people about conservation values, the value of birds as
indicators of environmental degradation and pastoral sustainability and the
need to protect and manage natural habitats appropriately.  We are in touch
with landholders and managers, many of whom are BA members.

We can, to some extent, act as a reference point for people involved in
projects and carrying identification to explain to leaseholders and land
managers what they are doing.  We can also listen to representations by BA
members about supporting or taking stands on particular issues (especially
if such representations are made by people who have taken the time and
effort to put together a well researched and adequately referenced or
argued case).

However, BA staff do not have the resources to give much direct attention
to issues that spread well beyond our core activities of practical bird and
habitat research and conservation.  (I am not saying that the issue of
public access to crown lands is irrelevant to this - just that we cannot
run the debate by ourselves).

Finally - if efforts by the Atlas team to get access to particular
properties have not succeeded, we certainly do not have the resources to
keep badgering recalcitrant individuals, especially when such approaches
may be counter-productive.

If anybody on the list has some practical and constructive suggestions
about what BA can do on top of what we are trying to do already, and is
also prepared to actively help out themselves, please send me a message
privately.  It would be interesting to hear something on the list from the
point of view of the people who actually have to manage the land and deal
with visitors of all sorts every day.  Otherwise - let's get back to bird


Hugo Phillipps
Communications Coordinator
Birds Australia
415 Riversdale Road
HAWTHORN EAST 3123, Australia
Tel: (03) 9882 2622, fax: (03) 9882 2677
Email: <>
Web site: <>

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