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

Australia Targets Illegal Trade in Exotic Birds


5 September 1996.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has launched a national scheme as part of Australia's efforts to crack down on smuggling of exotic birds.

Senator Hill says the National Exotic Bird Registration Scheme is a practical example of the Government's determination to end the illegal trade in exotic birds.

"The illegal trade in exotic birds is a lucrative one with birds such as South American Macaws and Amazonian Parrots fetching prices of up to $30,000 in Australia.

"This is just part of a world wide illegal trade in wildlife which Interpol estimates is worth $5 billion.

"Smuggling of exotic birds into Australia poses a real threat to our environment as it undermines effective quarantine procedures. Also, many of the species smuggled in are endangered in their country of origin."

Senator Hill says the National Exotic Bird Registration Scheme will provide further protection for more than 100 species of exotic birds.

"The scheme requires all keepers of exotic species classified internationally as endangered or posing a potential threat to the Australian environment to be registered by 1 November 1996.

"This will enable bird keepers to demonstrate the origin of their birds, making it harder for smugglers to sell birds through the legitimate trade in this country.

"Record books and certificates held by keepers will provide a breeding record and enable birds to be tracked more easily.

"Some 103 common species of exotic birds, like canaries and common pigeons, will be exempt and the scheme will not apply to Australian native birds."

Registration will involve keepers providing details of the number of exotic birds they hold and what species they are, and the payment of an annual $30.00 flat fee, regardless of how many registrable birds they own. The scheme is a cooperative program between the Commonwealth Government and the States and Territories. Bird keepers can obtain information and application forms from a toll free information line - 1800 684 447.

Contact:

Matt Brown, Senator Hill, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515

David Kay, ANCA, 06 250 0240; 250 0766

Commonwealth of Australia