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Residents, scientists in bid to save Red Tailed Cockatoo roost from bulldozers

Community groups and scientists have joined forces in a bid to save one of Perth’s most significant roosting sites for threatened Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, which they say is under imminent threat from an industrial development by Linc Property Group at the Greater Brixton St Wetlands in the City of Gosnells.

Credit: Simon Stevens

Scientists have documented over 330 cockatoos, including 90 fledglings and other juveniles using the roost, making it one of the largest roost sites in the metropolitan area. Clearing the roost would increase the birds’ vulnerability as it would force them to fly further for food and safety from predators.

Well known local resident Regina Drummond is Convenor of the Friends of Brixton St Wetlands Kenwick Inc., a community group that volunteers every month to care for the wetlands, lead guided bush walks, and organise talks and other events for the public.

“It sickens me to think of those cockatoos flying home to the roost one night with their fledglings in tow. Where there was a safe place the night before, there will only be a mess of branches on the ground, or a dirty big pile of wood chips left,” said Ms Drummond.  

Scientists who have been studying the Brixton St Wetlands say that the imminent clearing of the cockatoo roosting trees points to a much larger problem, where the impacts of planned industrial development on the unique wetlands has not been properly assessed by State and Commonwealth environment agencies.  

Botanist and Environmental Consultant Cate Tauss said, “The Brixton St Wetlands are globally significant and one of the most biodiverse areas on the Swan Coastal Plain. It is essential that any further industrial development around the wetlands is properly assessed, including consideration of cumulative impacts on the fragile ecology, hydrology, and biodiversity.

“To date, developers and government have failed to follow due process, and no detailed environmental assessment has occurred for serious impacts on one of our biodiversity jewels.  

“My family lived nearby for over 60 years. Some of my first memories as a child in this district were of huge flocks of Black Cockatoos, wildflowers, and wetlands. I am one of many graduates of UWA who fell in love with our native plants on student excursions to the Brixton St Wetlands, and have studied them ever since.

“Brixton St Wetlands is one of the major places international students and scientists request UWA to study when they visit Western Australia.

“The failure of the Environmental Impact Assessment process in the Maddington Kenwick Strategic Employment Area (MKSEA) to protect what are undoubtedly some of the most important, listed conservation values in the Greater Brixton St Wetlands, and in the direct footprint of the MKSEA, has shocked and saddened me.” 

Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Director Piers Verstegen said, “This is yet another case where the local community is essential in holding developers and governments to account, to ensure due process is followed, and to ensure our wildlife and environment is protected. 

“CCWA supports local community groups like Friends of Brixton St Wetlands - they are the eyes and ears on the ground who alert us to environmental problems before it is too late.

“The community has its eyes on Greater Brixton St Wetlands, and expects government and developers to follow due process every step of the way - including by conducting a formal, public Environmental Impact Assessment before any further industrial development occurs.”

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