Gouldian Finch bulldozed

Subject: Gouldian Finch bulldozed
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 15:10:52 +1000

G'day all

This item just posted to the ABC's online news service:

Rail blunder puts endangered finch in jeopardy

Contractors building the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway have accidentally
bulldozed feeding grounds of the endangered Gouldian finch.

The bungle has sparked outrage from the Northern Territory Environment Centre,
which is calling for a new regulatory body to hold companies accountable.

In the tropical wet season the tiny Gouldian finch heads south to feed in
grasslands along the new railway line.

Construction workers had promised to protect the sites but instead bulldozers
rolled through the clearly marked protection zones.

Alan Berry from Adrail says it was an error they took precautions to avoid.

"Maybe it wasn't clear enough for the bulldozer operator or driver," he said.

"That's our only defence on the matter."

Kirsten Blair from the NT Environment Centre says the infringement could be
devastating for the species.

She has raised concerns about why the accident was reported to the Territory
Government but was not made public.

She maintains the absence of a Territory environment protection agency means
similar infringements could also be going on undetected elsewhere.

Steve Clark
Hamilton, Victoria, 3300

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