Page 2568 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 6 August 2013

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Indian Myna Action Group, a local community group that is committed to protecting native wildlife from the impacts of the Indian myna. Myna birds are known to take over nesting hollows from native birds, possums and gliders after harassing and evicting them. They kill the chicks of other birds, destroy their eggs and build their nests on top. They also prey on endangered insects and small skinks. Indian mynas have been present in Canberra for some decades. I am told that in the 1960s the species was released into a single suburb of Canberra and that by the year 2000 they were present in all suburbs and had become the most common feral bird in the territory.

Over the past seven years the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group has led the way in tackling Canberra’s Indian myna population. With around 1,470 members and 1,350 traps in backyards across Canberra and Queanbeyan, the group has seen over 44,000 of these pest birds removed from our nature reserves and suburbs. As a result, the species has gone from the third most common bird in Canberra to the 20th most common. The group strongly promote a humane approach in the control of Indian mynas and its members all follow a strict animal welfare protocol.

On 5 July the group won the overall award in the Keep Australia Beautiful ACT sustainable cities awards for 2013 for their trapping program. The awards are open to community, business and government and celebrate achievement in litter reduction and the broader sustainability agenda. The group also took home the community action partnerships and culture category award and the environmental stewardship category award.

I congratulate Bill Handke and CIMAG on their work and the profound impact they have had on protecting native wildlife. They really show what a big impact a small group of people can make. I also acknowledge the work of the detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre who build the Indian myna traps in partnership with CIMAG. The program involves between five and 14 detainees at any time and helps provide them with the skills to assist them gain employment once they are back in the community. They have made over 680 traps so far.

I wanted to share this story with the house; I think it is a wonderful example of a community organisation making a great difference, particularly in light of our earlier conversation about philanthropy. I also acknowledge the partnership with the corrections system and the positive contribution the detainees have been able to make to this project as well.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.31 pm.

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