Labor silent on harvesting program as kangaroo numbers jump
17 August 2020
The Andrews Government has failed to outline when the kangaroo harvesting program will recommence in north east Victoria, despite promising it would do so by July.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the livelihoods of harvesters and pet food processors were on the line.
The Andrews Government suspended the kangaroo harvesting program across the north-east following the summer’s bushfires, despite the catchment including areas like Bendigo, Shepparton and Campaspe which were hundreds of kilometres from the fires.
“Kangaroo numbers are exploding as many areas experience an autumn break not seen for more than 30 years,” Ms Ryan said.
“Concerns the Andrews Labor Government did not support this industry and would cripple it by regulation have unfortunately become a reality.
“We have kangaroo harvesters and processors who have struggled through Labor’s games and delays in converting the successful trial program into an ongoing one.
“It is unacceptable for the Andrews Government to leave these people in limbo, particularly at a time when every job is so vitally important.
“They must immediately release the post fire review into kangaroo numbers which the Minister for Environment informed me in June was expected by the end of June.”
Ms Ryan has been contacted by kangaroo harvesters concerned about the impact Labor’s suspension of the program is having on their businesses, the businesses of pet food processors, and the jump in kangaroo numbers.
Local harvester Mark Walsh said he was sick of the waste.
“The trouble now lies in the fact that a farmer is allowed to apply for a shoot and drop permit only, no carcass is removed from the property, which is a total waste of a resource, the animal is just left to rot in the paddock,” said Mr Walsh.
“Anyone with a gun licence can undertake this permit, no proficiency on shooting accuracy required. Harvesters must complete an accredited firearms safety course and be accredited in Game Meat Hygiene and Handling.”
Registered harvesters also follow the national code of practice in humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for commercial purposes.
Ms Ryan said, “The arguments put forward by the government don’t stack up. They have made knee jerk reactive decisions that threaten jobs in a young and sustainable industry.”
“The government must immediately recommence the program, end the waste, help farmers protect their crops and pastures, and ensure this sustainable industry has a future.”