Reprieve for ’roo trial

By Country News

Victoria’s kangaroo pet food trial has been extended for another year, just as it was expected to expire on Saturday.

The kangaroo pet food trial, which started in March 2014, allows the use of kangaroo meat resulting from authorised wildlife control activities to be processed for pet food.

The Victorian Government conducted a statewide kangaroo population survey in September 2017, with the survey finding that the overall kangaroo population in Victoria was conservatively estimated to be about 1.4million kangaroos.

During the one-year extension, the population survey will be repeated to better assess whether changes to management activities under the Authority to Control Wildlife permit system and the trial are sustainable for Victoria’s kangaroo population.

The trial will continue until March 31, 2019 in 16 local government areas.

Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio made the announcement on Friday, following calls to extend the trial.

‘‘We’re extending the trial for a year to provide certainty to the industry and provide time for further assessment of the program,’’ she said.

‘‘The extension will give us time to learn more about what’s working and what isn’t.’’

The Liberal/Nationals have promised to make the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and expand it to include deer, if elected in November, spruiking jobs that could be created in Stanhope and Seymour.

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the party recognised the role hunters played in controlling problem deer numbers.

‘‘Not only are deer a real problem in the high country and areas like Tatong, but numbers have increased to such an extent that they are now being found in vineyards in the Strathbogie Ranges,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Expanding it to include deer meat makes sense. Our policy reduces waste, reduces pest pressure on local farms and the environment and creates local jobs.’’