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Action on long-term kangaroo management

By Country News

The Victorian Government says it will provide long-term certainty for farmers and the kangaroo pet food industry by establishing a new regulatory framework and developing a long-term kangaroo management plan.

The new framework will support the operation of an ongoing kangaroo pet food program in Victoria and include safeguards to ensure that harvesting is sustainable and animal welfare requirements are met.

The current kangaroo pet food trial, which expired on March 31, will be extended until September 30 to allow DELWP to establish a regulatory framework and kangaroo management plan, and to mitigate impacts on participants.

‘‘We’ve listened to farmers’ concerns and that’s why we’re taking action to sustainably manage kangaroo populations and reduce waste going forward, to the benefit of farmers and our environment,’’ Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said.

Once the trial expires, kangaroos in Victoria will be able to be harvested and processed in accordance with the new management plan, approved by DELWP and administered by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

The new regulatory framework and kangaroo management plan will establish kangaroo harvesting zones and set appropriate annual quotas for each zone.

Regular statewide kangaroo population surveys will be conducted to ensure quotas remain sustainable.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the introduction of a management plan was a ‘‘backwards step’’.

‘‘Farmers, professional shooters and pet food processors have been calling on the government to confirm the trial’s future for months, after being left in limbo year after year because Daniel Andrews refused to make the trial permanent,’’ he said.

‘‘But instead of making what’s proved to be a successful trial permanent, Daniel Andrews plans to butcher it.’’

The VFF said the timing of the decision meant uncertainty remained.

‘‘Farmers and the pet food industry need certainty, and a long-term kangaroo management plan is one way to achieve that,’’ VFF Livestock president Leonard Vallance said.

‘‘The government made this decision at the last minute, and we’re not confident they have thought through all of the implications of the proposed legislative framework and management plan.

‘‘There are still many questions that we are seeking clarity on.’’

■The trial evaluation report is available at: https:// www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/wildlife-management-and-control-authorisations/kangaroo-pet-food-trial