By Claire Ottaviano
LOCAL wildlife carers and activists say a draft policy to protect native fauna in urban growth corridors in the City of Swan needs more work.
The Native Fauna Management Policy, now open for public comment, relates only to kangaroos.
The purpose of the policy is to help developers prepare native fauna management plans to support structure plans or development applications.
The push to create a fauna management policy was first put forward by petitioner and Perth Wildlife Rescue Network wildlife rehabilitator Racheal Kimber after a series of kangaroo deaths on Lord Street in 2018. (Kangaroo future in City’s hands)
She wanted the City to create a policy, similar to one created by the City of Wanneroo, that would ensure the effective management of kangaroos.
Three years on, Ms Kimber, while supporting the policy’s progress, would like to see it more inclusive of other native fauna.
“The point of the policy is to avoid the impacts of displaced fauna due to habitat disturbance,” she said.
“Why not make that applicable to all native fauna, not just kangaroos?
“Emus, echidnas, possums all inhabit these rapidly growing areas and we need to be taking steps to see fauna protected from future urban development now, rather than adding them in as an afterthought in the future.”
Swan Valley Wildlife and Environment Advocacy Group (SVWEAG) spokesperson Grant Stewart is an advocate for kangaroos affected by the developing Brabham Estate.
He said the policy was a “watered down” version introduced by the City of Wanneroo.
“The policy obviously appears to have been drafted to accommodate developers, with the term ‘management’ allowing for the killing of the kangaroos,” he said.
“While it is commendable that the City is seen to be doing something to protect the kangaroos, this policy is misleading and should be thrown out in order to allow a proper comprehensive and genuine protection policy to be drafted.
“If this policy is allowed to pass without significant overhaul, it will steal the oxygen from any future potential meaningful policy being introduced.”
He also agreed with above comments that the ‘native fauna’ should include more than just kangaroos.
“The policy handballs any responsibility away from the City of Swan and the community and into the hands of the developers, he said.
City of Swan chief executive Jeremy Edwards said the policy’s objective was to ensure kangaroos were managed in a proactive and humane manner.
When asked if the City would have capacity to prosecute for non-compliance of the policy, Mr Edwards said no.
“The policy is a guiding document with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) having authority under the Biodiversity and Conservation Act,” he said.
“The City of Swan will encourage developers to ensure kangaroo management needs are considered and correct processes are followed with relevant State Government agencies.”
The City held workshops with DBCA and Wildlife Care WA in preparation of the draft policy.
The public can have their say via the City’s website at www.swan.wa.gov.au/haveyoursay
Consultation closes August 12.