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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Exotic Bird Register Won't Ruffle Feathers


18 October 1996
(131/96)

On the eve of National Bird Week, Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill is urging all owners of classified exotic birds to register with a new national conservation program.

Senator Hill says exotic bird owners have a role to play in conserving species which are endangered internationally and in helping to prevent introduced species from becoming a threat to native wildlife.

Under the National Exotic Bird Registration Scheme, keepers have until 1 November 1996 to register their exotic birds.

Senator Hill says the scheme will help combat the multi-million dollar illegal trade in exotic birds and help to protect native wildlife and agriculture from potential pest birds.

"Under the scheme, bird keepers need to provide details of the number of exotic birds they hold and what species they are, and pay an annual $30.00 flat fee, regardless of how many classified birds they own.

"Registration records will provide the first ever inventory of exotic species already kept in Australia, making it harder for smugglers to sell birds through the legitimate bird trade.

"After 1 November, anyone possessing an exotic bird which is not registered but is not included on the exempt list, could face a fine or imprisonment."

No species of birds native to Australia, such as Galahs and Rainbow Lorikeets, need to be registered. Examples of species which need to be registered are the Mandarin Duck, Scarlet Macaw, Blue and Gold Macaw, Red Lory and flamingoes.

The scheme is a cooperative program between the Commonwealth Government and the States and Territories. Application forms are available from the Environment Department's Wildlife Protection Authority.

Many common exotic birds, such as canaries and some lovebird species, do not need to be registered, but owners can check if their birds are exempt by phoning a toll free information line at the Environment Department- 1800 684 447.

National Bird Week 1996 runs from 21-27 October.

Contact: Matt Brown (Minister's Office) 06 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Paul Jewell (Department) 06 250 0270 or 250 0766

Commonwealth of Australia