I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for State/Local Government Relations on the topic of little corellas.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: At the moment, residents of Strathalbyn, which is in the Alexandrina Council area, and of Noarlunga in the Onkaparinga council, are experiencing the effects of large populations of little corellas in their areas. The effects that are being described to me by constituents include sleep disturbance; destruction of their trees, plants and human structures; and large amounts of bird defecation, all of which residents of these towns say are affecting their quality of life.
It has been reported that the population of little corellas in Strathalbyn is 10,000 strong, and constituents believe that the number is even higher than that. The Alexandrina Council Little Corella Management Plan 2010-11 seeks to:
Conduct strategic targeted control and management by Council in cooperation with community, but also seek greater support and involvement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources...with the aim of improving the level of support and involvement in this issue.
However, it was reported in The Courier of 9 February that this support has been denied. My question to the minister is: given the recent signing of the State/Local Government Relations Agreement (South Australia) 2011, which the minister himself described as enhancing relations, will the minister mediate on this issue between the councils and DENR?
The Hon. B.V. FINNIGAN (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for Gambling) (14:30): I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for her question. Again, the honourable member does not seem to understand the nature of the State/Local Government Relations Agreement, which is to set out the broad parameters of the relationship between state and local government.
It may well be that in the drafting of that agreement there was not a schedule covering little corellas. It may well be that there is not a little corella appendix to that agreement. That apparently is a major oversight and failure in the eyes of the members opposite.
It is extraordinary that the honourable member comes in here continually and speaks about local government programs as if I am responsible for everything that local government does in this state. As the honourable member indicated, this is a program that is overseen by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, so I will certainly refer that to my colleague in the other place and bring back a response in relation to the particular issues that the honourable member has raised.
I would suggest that is not a very productive way to approach the state/local government relations portfolio; to expect that basically it is an opportunity to have a pot shot at every single council in the state in relation to anything they are doing. That is not the role of the minister and nor should it be. It is not the role of the minister to administer every single decision of every single council. If it were, then you would hardly need councils.
So, it is a rather mistaken assumption for the honourable member to think that her job is to bring any example of a local government program or initiative into the chamber and expect that it is the responsibility of the Minister for State/Local Government Relations to take immediate action regarding an individual matter of this nature. As she has indicated, this is a program involving the environment department, so I will refer the detail to my colleague in the other place and bring back a response.
Respone given on Wednesday 14 September 2011:
In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (10 March 2011).
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Public Sector Management, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister for Gambling): The Minister for Environment and Conservation has been advised: 1. The Department of Environment and Natural resources (DENR) has already convened meetings with the City of Onkaparinga Executive and these have been productive sessions. Similar meetings are currently being organised with the Alexandrina Council Executive. DENR recognises the Little Corella management challenges in the Strathalbyn area and has provided support to Alexandrina Council in a variety of ways including:
DENR, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, the City of Onkaparinga and Alexandrina Council jointly funded a visit by a corella expert from Victoria to Old Noarlunga in March 2010 to examine ways to effectively manage the impacts of the large number of Little Corellas in the region. The report was provided to the project partners in April 2010, and has since been distributed to the public. DENR has, and continues to advise the Alexandrina Council on a range of options available for reducing the impacts of Little Corellas.
In 2010, DENR issued a trap and gas permit to Alexandrina Council and participated in the trap and gas operation undertaken at Strathalbyn in order to better understand the Little Corella population dynamics at the site. A DENR representative attended all Alexandrina Council community forums on Little Corella management in 2010 and participation in future forums is anticipated.
On Thursday 10 March 2011, a DENR representative met with staff from the Alexandrina Council to determine a Little Corella population estimate, discuss the management of Little Corellas in the community, and approaches for improving management strategies and disturbance management techniques. DENR remains committed to assisting Alexandrina Council with reducing the conflicts between Little Corellas and residents in the area.