Every year hundreds of flying-foxes and other wildlife suffer horrific injuries when they become entangled in protective netting which loosely covers backyard fruit trees. Most of these animals die slow and painful deaths and those that survive often need care for the remainder of their lives. One of the most common victims of this netting is the grey-headed flying fox, listed as vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The NSW, Victorian and Queensland Governments have all issued guidelines on correct netting procedures. These guidelines state that in order to prevent wildlife deaths, netting must be stretched tightly over a frame, rather than draped over the tree and that thin nylon (monofilament) netting must never be used.
Despite this, monofilament netting is sold and directly marketed for the purpose of protecting fruit trees by stores such as Bunnings and Flower Power. Also, while Bunnings recently agreed to distribute information on the dangers of fruit tree netting at point of sale, these warnings are not included in the labelling of netting. No such agreement has been reached with other retails outlets selling netting.
Write to: The Hon Bob Debus, Minister for Environment, Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000 FAX: (02) 9228 3166 EMAIL: email@example.com
Urge the Minister to commit to the following proposals:
1. All monofilament (thin nylon) netting must be completely removed from the market place. There are many other commercial alternatives. Even if monofilament netting is erected in the recommended way by stretching it tightly over a frame, it can still be lethal to wildlife. It should be banned.
2. All other backyard fruit tree netting sold in retail outlets must carry labels, warning consumers of the consequences of incorrect netting and carrying information on how to net correctly. Suggest that translations of correct netting methods are made in several languages. Congratulate the Minister for reaching a recent agreement with Bunnings, whereby Bunnings agreed to distribute information on the dangers of netting at point of sale. However stress that this information should specifically be included in the labeling of fruit tree netting.
Write to: Senator, The Hon Ian Campbell, Minister for Environment & Heritage, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 FAX: (02) 6273 6101, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Urge the Minister to raise this issue with his State and Territory counterparts and encourage them to seriously consider the above proposals.
Mr Andrew Laming, Federal Member for Bowman will be presenting fruit tree netting issues to Senator Ian Campbell in Parliament. If possible, please send letters to Senator Campbell before Friday 3rd February and send copies of your letter to email@example.com, FAX: (07) 3821 3799 (Mr Laming's Secretary).
Please be clear in your letters that they do not apply to commercial fruit growers but to private individuals trying to protect their backyard fruit trees by using incorrect netting procedures.
Write to: Michael Schneider, State Operations Manager, Bunnings, 11 Shirley Rd, Rosehill2142; and John Sammut, Managing Director, Flower Power, 124 Newbridge Rd, Moorebank NSW 2170
Ask Bunnings and Flower Power to remove monofilament netting from their stores and put in place the many other commercial alternatives. Congratulate Bunnings for agreeing to distribute information on the dangers of netting at point of sale, however ask that warnings are specifically included in the labelling of fruit tree netting.