Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young believes expanding hunting in Victoria to include kangaroos should be considered by the Victorian Government as it undertakes a population survey to update its kangaroo management plan.
Mr Young’s comments come as Member for Euroa Steph Ryan encouraged the Victorian Government to make the state’s kangaroo pet food scheme ongoing, and extend it to include deer.
Low-level aerial kangaroo surveys are being conducted for the first time in Victoria to determine the population distribution.
‘‘While long overdue, I welcome the government’s decision to conduct these surveys because anecdotal evidence indicates that the kangaroo population is at plague proportions in many areas,’’ Mr Young said.
‘‘Based on the reports from constituents and shires throughout the Northern Victoria region, I have long been calling on the state government to be more proactive in managing kangaroo numbers. A survey to understand the size of the problem is a first step.
‘‘Should the survey show that kangaroo numbers are problematic, as I believe they are, the state government needs to next consider that current management practices are not sustainable.
‘‘As such, this is an ideal time to start talking about alternatives. One such alternative would be to reclassify kangaroos to game for hunting purposes.
‘‘We have seen kangaroo numbers are currently supporting a successful pet food trial which should now be made permanent.
‘‘It is conceivable there could also be a sustainable plan for kangaroos to be harvested for human consumption.’’
Ms Ryan, who is also the Deputy Leader of The Nationals, recently told Parliament that landholders in the Strathbogie Ranges had reported seeing deer on their properties.
‘‘Deer are a pest animal that do enormous damage to the environment,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Extending the current kangaroo pet food trial to include deer would enable landholders to enlist the support of appropriately licensed shooters to help control their spread in a measured and regulated way.
‘‘It would also ensure the carcasses of any animals can be processed as pet food, instead of being left to rot.’’
Ms Ryan said the kangaroo pet food trial was instigated under The Nationals and Liberals when last in government to allow kangaroo meat harvested legally to be processed as pet food.
The trial has been extended but has no certain future beyond March next year.
The scheme has also resulted in extra jobs, with a pet food abattoir in Seymour benefiting from the changes.
Resident Graham Moore has been called on by landholders with permits to cull kangaroos.
He said the number of pest animals was growing and the government should turn the trial into an industry that could be expanded across the state.
‘‘It’s a difficult situation because the department is still issuing shoot and drop permits and animals are being wasted,’’ Mr Moore said.
‘‘With the trial, the animals are used and not wasted, jobs are created and everyone wins.’’