Labor backs down on kangaroos at last minute
29 March 2019
The Andrews Government has buckled to pressure from state Nationals MPs on the state’s kangaroo pet food scheme, throwing the program a lifeline at the last minute.
The scheme, which was set to expire this Sunday, will now be extended until October 1.
Euroa MP and The Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan has been an outspoken advocate for the continuation of the program, which she has described as vital to local farmers.
“There are a lot of red flags over Labor’s plans post October, but farmers across Victoria will be relieved to hear the program will continue in its current form until then,” said Ms Ryan.
“The Andrews Government has dithered for months over the program, refusing to guarantee it would be ongoing.
“Labor’s refusal to make a decision caused a lot of unnecessary stress for people who are already finding things tough because of the drought.”
The Nationals first established the scheme in 2014, after farmers raised concerns that kangaroos culled under a permit were being left in paddocks to rot.
“I have been lobbying for the continuation of this program for months,” Ms Ryan said.
“We now need to ensure that the government’s regulation of the new industry from October and the harvesting zones and quotas that are set are in line with community expectations and need,” Ms Ryan said.
“The state’s Agriculture Minister has said that after October kangaroos culled on farm under a permit will not be used for pet food, which is ludicrous.
“The Andrews Government clearly still doesn’t get why this program is important.
“Farmers around Heathcote, Nagambie, Euroa and Lake Mokoan have reported kangaroo numbers in plague proportions.
“This program offers a way of proactively converting a problem to a product with an economic benefit for rural and regional communities.
“The sustainable management of kangaroos is important for our region and the state.”
Ms Ryan said the government should immediately begin the reissue of tags to licensed shooters so knackeries in Seymour and Stanhope using kangaroo carcasses for pet food could keep using roos in a sustainable way.