A public notice in the Age newspaper last Tuesday (1 July) caught our attention. The notice, by Bayside City Council, announces a proposal to introduce new clauses into the Councils Local Laws. The new clauses would:
“make it an offence for an occupier of land to feed, or continue to feed or allow or cause to be fed, any bird on that land if the bird is not ordinarily kept on the land and if the circumstances of the feeding interfere or are likely to interfere with another’s material comfort or enjoyment of their own land.”
Hoping that the notice might be a mis-timed April Fool’s joke we decided to dig a little deeper. Sadly, it isn’t a practical joke. In fact, the matter has already been reported to and considered at Council meetings in August 2013 and June 2014 and draft proposed Local Law clauses (prepared by Council’s solicitors) really do exist along with a 7 page ‘Local Law Community Impact Statement’.
Further details that we have been able to learn by reading the ‘Community Impact Statement’ include:
- a full ‘Risk Analysis’ of the proposed new law has been completed and it has been deemed that the ‘hazard’ (of feeding birds on public or private land) has an Overall Risk Rating of ‘Moderate’;
- the new law will allow $200 Infringement Notices to be issued for each offence. The penalty is considered appropriate to reflect the “seriousness of the offence”;
- the proposed law is thought to be consistent with Councils policy of imposing minimum obligations on the community because it provides for “minimal obligations“.
Submissions on the draft new law are being accepted until 7 August 2014.
We are both amazed and frustrated that Council time and resources are being spent on this type of issue. Our submission will most likely be along the following lines… ‘1. Stop wasting ratepayers money, 2. Get a life’.
PS… I was walking through a park in Bayside on the weekend and noticed some small children throwing bread to the ducks. Should I be telephoning Council to report these law-breakers??