22 February 2008

News from South Australia

A few items which have caught my eye in the last day or so:

# Mr Foley's blast

Treasurer Kevin Foley has blasted South Australians as "a bunch of bloody whingers".

"This state has an exciting future and it's not, in my view, because of timid governments," he said at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch.

"What laments me and laments me quite often is that here in Adelaide we are a bunch of bloody whingers, a bunch of bloody whingers."

"We might not be the sexiest and exciting Government that some people may want. But we have delivered the almost impossible – stable government."

Mr Foley said his comments were made in response to tenured academics who hung their cardigans on the back of their seats and then sat down and wondered "who can we critique today?"

Mr F's vision (read the whole piece) sounds like a number cruncher's one, which is all very well but there is more to life than a balanced budget, important though that is. Perhaps South Australians would just like to see more tangible evidence of the prosperity which the Rann-Foley government is supposed to be delivering. It's interesting that Mr F mentions prisons as an important part of his vision, but there's no indication that he's thought about why new ones might be needed.

# Bolkus denies conflict of interest

The ABC reports:

Former Labor Senator Nick Bolkus says there has been no conflict of interest in his chairmanship of the South Australian Stormwater Authority and lobbying for the Jockey Club.

Mr Bolkus has resigned from the Stormwater Authority to take up a new business opportunity.

The South Australian Jockey Club wants to sell Cheltenham Racecourse to a housing developer but some opponents believe it should be used to capture stormwater run-off.

Mr Bolkus says that has not caused a conflict of interest on his part.

"In respect of Cheltenham, for the first 20 or so months on either committee the issue didn't come up," he said.

"When it did came (sic) up in accordance with the practice we adopted, I wasn't alerted to the fact it was going to come up and in fact left the room and let the committee deliberate in accordance with the rules."


# No more cane toads but foxes abundant

No further cane toads have been found in suburban Mawson Lakes despite a detailed search, according to the ABC.

The Department of Land and Biodiversity has been searching for cane toads after one was found in a backyard last week.

The department's director Bill Davies says the night trapping will be called off shortly, and searches will only be conducted randomly.

"We're reasonably certain there's nothing there, so what we might do is actually pick occasions when we think the conditions might be very good for trapping and just try that," he said.

"The odd evening that's more warm and balmy are more conducive for the animals coming out."

On the other hand the Mount Barker Courier reports on an increase in fox numbers in the Adelaide Hills:

A rise in fox numbers has alarmed the region's peak environment group with 900 foxes killed on one 10ha Norton Summit property in the past six years.

Adelaide and Mt Lofty Natural Resources Management Board officer David Hughes said the fox problem in the area was "getting worse" with the animals thriving in the Hills, particularly on the urban fringe. The number of foxes in the region is impossible to accurately estimate but experts believe for every bait taken there could be as many as four foxes within a square kilometre.

Property owners are being urged to act to halt the rising menace and
implement strategies to limit their numbers. Landholders Sue and Sean Delaney have had two to three baits taken every week from their property which backs onto the Morialta Conservation Park.

Unlike cane toads, foxes aren't recent arrivals here but there have been other reports of them occupying areas even closer to the city eg the Botanic Park. On walks and drives through the Adelaide Hills over the years I've occasionally seen a fox, or more often when walking, scats (droppings). Nobody seems to have much idea of what to do about them.

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