Western district farmers and professional shooters are yet to hear from the Andrews Labor Government about the new kangaroo pet food program framework that will operate from 1 October.
Earlier this year the Government agreed to extend the successful kangaroo pet food trial to 30 September to “provide continuity to current participants of the KPFT while arrangements for the new program are established”.
The DELWP website states, “Further information about this program will be provided as its development progresses”, but less than a month before the current program ends no information about the new program has been made available to local farmers, shooters or local businesses.
It is understood from the website that landholders will still be able to apply for Authority to Control Wildlife permits to control kangaroos on their own property, however these carcasses will not be processed for pet food under the new system.
The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy has spoken in Parliament this week expressing her concern at the lack of information regarding the future of the program.
“I have asked the Minister in Parliament this week why Labor is withholding information regarding the future of the kangaroo pet food program, and will they guarantee that there be no reductions to harvest zones or quotas for our region,” Ms Kealy said.
“It is deeply concerning that farmers and professional shooters haven’t heard a word and one has to question just how much ‘development’ has actually taken place in preparation for 1 October?
“If any work has been done it certainly hasn’t been done in consultation with key stakeholders which in itself is a huge concern.
“We must actively manage our kangaroo populations to avoid illness and starvation, prevent damage to fence lines and pastures for farmers, prevent damage to our native environment, reduce waste, reduce car accidents on our roads and protect local jobs.
“The kangaroo pet food program has proven to be successful in controlling rising kangaroo numbers while at the same time bringing significant economic benefits to our rural and regional communities.
“It is a win-win situation however I continue to receive a steady stream of complaints from professional shooters and farmers who are frustrated at what they believe is Labor deliberately sabotaging a successful model.
“Yet again I am calling upon the Andrews Labor Government to support the kangaroo pet food program and work with farmers and professional shooters to control our rising kangaroo population in a humane and sustainable manner.”