birding-aus Responses re: Fenthion bird deaths

Subject: birding-aus Responses re: Fenthion bird deaths
From: "jon wren" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 20:08:52 PDT
Gooday all,
Thanks for the swift feedback on this matter. I have forwarded the following letter to the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage, Hon. Rod Welford. To date I have had no response but then again the letter was sent on the 10 August following a Queens Beach ALP Meeting.

Dear Minister
Re: Collinsville bird deaths May-August 1999

Over recent months many different species of birds have been found dead or dying, due to a suspected poison bait or accidental poisoning in the Collinsville/Scottville area of the Bowen Shire. This incident first came to the publics attention on the 28 May, through a short report on page 15 of the Bowen Independent. I contacted the Bowen Shire Council and spoke to a representative of the Environmental Health section who advised me that all dead birds were disposed of and buried at the Collinsville tip with non of the specimens being kept for analysis. This action by the Bowen Shire Council is far from satifactory in this day and age, especially when one considers the "devolution of authority" from State Government to Local Government over recent years. Minister we are reminded on almost a daily basis that Australia is under threat and is becoming more prone to the introduction of overseas diseases and pests. This is not a responsible attitude or response from those in authority. Mrs. Carol Consentino of Collinsville who has assisted representatives of all Departments and agencies that are now involved in the current investigation, contacted me recently and advised of a number of scenarios that she was aware of at the time and during the bird deaths. 1. Bowen Shire Council feral cats program at the Collinsville Dump. (baiting)? 2. The deliberate mixing of a poison to use as a bait to target pest species to protect a passion-fruit crop in the Collinsville region. 3.Pig-dog/s attacking a horse that was eventually put down with the owner then lacing some of the remains with a banned substance and wiring remains to a tree for a number of weeks.

The Collinsville Police have received a complaint about the latter and this is currently under investigation, while the Bowen Shire Council have advised me that they do not have a baiting program for the control of feral cats. However, Mrs Consentino is concerned that the Departments involved do not seem to be cooperating and working together. No one seems to be in a position to take action so that this most unsatifactory matter is brought to a conclusion. I am aware that the Environmental Protection Agency, Dept. of Primary Industries, your Department and the Bowen Shire Council have been working on this issue but little news or updates have been released to keep the general community informed. Finally on the 4 August the Bowen Independent reported that the poison used to kill the birds was Fenthion, this being confirmed by Mr Jon Gibbons of the BSC who did provide some details of test results. Mention was also made in the report that this same poison was responsible for 4.15M bird deaths in South Africa. Minister we believe that this is an environmental disaster and furthermore we are concerned about the general community in that area of the bird deaths, as we now believe that this is a "public health matter". The community needs answers and assurances that these incidents are being investigated and handled in an efficient and effective manner, following set down procedures. Is there a need to conduct information sessions on how to avoid this poison or is it a potential threat to young children? The community has many questions for those in authority. This incident with the initial inaction by the Bowen Shire Council and disposal of specimans needs a thorough review so as to identify the problems in the current response arrangements to such threat within our environment. At the present time I am unaware of the current situation at Collinsville/Scottville. The community and also some in authority seem to consider that this is all part of life in a rural town and that it will all pass and be forgotten about soon. Minister we cannot afford to treat such matters in a "laissez-faire" manner and we implore you to review the current procedures that have been practiced in this particular instance.
Yours sincerely
Jon Wren
10 August 1999

"Don't be afraid to take big steps. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps" David Lloyd George
Comments any one.

Jon Wren
PO Box 868
Bowen (Climate Capital of Australia)
Australia 4805
Phone 07 4786 2614H
Mobile 0412 789 285  email: 

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