Farmer told he can kill one bird a day
DARRELL GILES political editor
A FARMER whose grain crops are being destroyed by thousands of birds has been told he can kill just one a day.
Glen Steinhardt, of Murgon, applied to the State Government for a damage mitigation permit after plague proportions of lorikeets and cockatoos took a fancy to his crops.
The Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the farmer could cull 87 birds over 85 days.
The member for Nanango, Dorothy Pratt, told Parliament this week that drought conditions had led to huge numbers of birds going from seed head to seed head.
"When bird fright and other alternative methods have failed, how can a grower be expected to protect his crop when restricted to one bird per day?" Mrs Pratt said.
The Independent MP asked Environment Minister Desley Boyle if the one-bird-per-day limit was just a token gesture, with "no real desire" by the department to help the grower. Mrs Pratt said the farmer, who asked not to be identified, estimated more than 5000 birds attacked his sorghum and wheat every day.
"Bird fright does not really move them on," she said. "He is allowed to shoot one bird a day . . . it is a bit ironic, when he stands there and watches trucks pass by on the highway and kill 30 to 60 birds in one strike."
Mrs Pratt said the truckies would never be prosecuted, but the grower faced stiff penalties if he exceeded the permit limit.
"He is losing thousands of dollars every day, but the Government is not about to pay him any compensation."
The grower accepted that lorikeets and cockatoos were protected native wildlife, but desperately needed help.
"The EPA is obviously out of touch . . . it just shows the lack of knowledge of the rural industry. Where is the logic?" Mrs Pratt said.
Ms Boyle told Parliament she would investigate the matter.
Mr Steinhardt said killing his quota of 87 at once would take minutes and would not solve the problem.