Muir’s Corella meetings reveal frustrations
Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP hosted two community meetings in Frankland River and Tonebridge yesterday, in conjunction with Manjimup Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) officers, to discuss the impact of Muir’s Corellas on local residents.
Mr Wilson said Frankland River residents report regular destruction of aerials, power lines, gardens and council sporting amenities. The most common concern is the cacophonous noise disrupting their lives, sometimes from dawn until dusk.
“Farmers and townspeople are frustrated and viticulturists are suffering from significant production losses due to vines being stripped and fruit destroyed,” Mr Wilson said.
At the Tonebridge meeting, grain growers and sheep farmers report corella flocks in their thousands descending on crops and feed, trailed for livestock.
“Farmers are feeling hopeless as their yields plummet and they are powerless to control the increasing numbers. As a farmer myself I empathise with the communities' dilemma and I’m optimistic a collaborative effort to develop a new management plan will be a positive step forward.
“As a result of the meetings I will approach WA Minister for Agriculture Ken Baston urging him to conduct a full economic and social impact study and the WA Minister for Environment Albert Jacob to request resources be allocated to better understand the bird’s habits and behaviours,” he said.
Muir’s Corella is a subspecies of the white corella, prevalent in the Boyup Brook, Lake Muir and Frankland / Rocky Gully areas. Numbering in the low thousands in the 1970s, protection status introduced in 1990 has seen their population grow with this year’s corella count in excess of 22,500.
The Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt has been approached by Mr Wilson to consider downgrading the bird’s federal conservation status from vulnerable, to align with the state listing of other specially protected fauna.
This will enable DPaW to continue developing and tailoring a comprehensive new management strategy to address the various social and economic impacts of the birds.