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Code of Conduct Needed for Penguin Viewing

Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 22 September 2016

Tags: Environment, King Island

That the House:—

(1)           Notes that BirdLife Tasmania reported a disturbing incident that occurred during a penguin tour on King Island in July 2016.

(2)           Understands that the tour involved over 100 people who arrived in buses and hire cars after dark, who used their vehicle headlights to flush out penguins that were blinded and disoriented and so easier to photograph, and that some tourists chased penguins and their chicks as they tried to escape.

(3)           Further understands that one penguin was allegedly injured when it was hit by a vehicle as it tried to reach the sea.

(4)           Acknowledges this incident was an appalling display of how penguin viewing should not be conducted by tourism operators, and that the event created negative publicity interstate on Facebook, which impacted on our state’s tourism reputation.

(5)           Notes that the Greens wrote to the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Hon. Matthew Groom MP urging the Government to put in place measures to protect the penguins on King Island, and recommended a “code of conduct” be established for penguin viewing in Tasmania, with consequences for not adhering to it.

(6)           Understands that in the Minister’s response he declined to refer to the suggested measures proposed, and ruled out any need to work with the industry to develop a code of conduct.

(7)           Calls on the Minister to take action to protect our state’s vulnerable penguin populations by immediately moving to work with tourism operators and Birdlife Tasmania to develop a Code of Conduct for penguin viewing.