24 May 2016
24 May 2016
Ms RYAN (Euroa) — The adjournment matter I wish to raise tonight is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The action I seek is for the minister to visit my electorate — ideally Heathcote — to attend a public forum to hear directly from residents about the dramatic increase we have seen in kangaroo numbers in the past 18 months. Despite the volumes of correspondence that I sent to the previous minister from residents concerned about the kangaroo population, nothing has been done. In March the government released a kangaroo management plan for public land that proposes no action in the Heathcote area. Residents have written to me pleading for something to be done. Many believe that it is only a matter of time before more people are killed or seriously injured.
Data released by the RACV earlier this month shows that 8 out of 10 crashes on Victorian roads involving animals were caused by kangaroos. In 2011 there were 2986 insurance claims in Victoria for damaged cars. Last year there were 4443 claims — including my own — all caused by kangaroos. That is an increase of almost 50 per cent in four years. Data from VicRoads shows that the number of motorists who sustained injuries from collisions with kangaroos also reached a 10-year high of 128 last year.
This issue does not seem to be on the government's radar at all. There was not a single mention of kangaroos and the danger they pose to motorists in country Victoria in the government's new road safety strategy. The government plans to reduce speed limits, but it is doing nothing to address a growing cause of accidents on roads in central Victoria. Locals believe the increase in numbers can in part be attributed to the seasonal conditions. Numbers bred up over a number of good years, but now feed is in scarce supply and people are concerned that there is not enough vegetation to support the increased population. Increasingly kangaroos are venturing closer to people's homes in the search for food. This has led to a number of reports of people being attacked near houses and of people who are too afraid to put the washing out because of the threatening nature of some kangaroos in their backyard. I have had reports of one man whose ear was torn off and another who was collected by a kangaroo while jogging in Heathcote.
Then there is the welfare of the animals themselves. I hate hitting a kangaroo, seeing it drag itself off into the bush and feeling powerless to help it. That is a cruel death. Kangaroos are part of our landscape. The government cannot prevent every accident with kangaroos, but it does have a responsibility to control them, and at present it is failing. The population is just not sustainable, and it is not humane to allow them to grow in uncontrollable numbers.