A Liberal Nationals government would secure jobs in Seymour by allowing a kangaroo pet food industry to develop, according to Member for Euroa Steph Ryan.
The current trial program, using culled kangaroos where they have become a nuisance, would become permanent, Ms Ryan announced with Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh in Seymour last week.
Since the trial was established by the former Liberal Nationals government in 2014, about 87000 kangaroo carcasses, that would have otherwise been discarded, have been processed.
Ms Ryan said the Liberals Nationals would expand the program to all rural and regional LGAs, up from the 16 LGAs taking part in the current trial.
‘‘Landholders across our region want the kangaroo pet food program to be guaranteed,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘It has provided valuable employment across the region with knackeries at both Stanhope and Seymour processing the meat for pet food.
‘‘The program also encourages control measures to be carried out by professional shooters.
‘‘Kangaroos are a wonderful part of the Australian landscape but we need to make sure numbers don’t become unsustainable.’’
Ms Ryan said many landholders had contacted her seeking information about the current program which is due to expire in March.
Under the permanent program, there will not be any change to the requirement for Authority to Control Wildlife permits to be issued for any kangaroos used as pet food.
Mr Walsh said the kangaroo pet food industry needs certainty.
‘‘Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor Government refuse to support this fledgling industry and the jobs it has created,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Unlike Labor, the Liberal Nationals are committed to helping Victorian farmers, making sure processors have confidence to invest in the industry and supporting existing and future jobs.’’
According to Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock president Leonard Vallance, the growing kangaroo population has a detrimental impact on not only agriculture but also native flora and fauna, leaving little shelter for other animals, reptiles, birds and insects.
‘‘The kangaroo pet food industry is a means of managing the kangaroo population at a sustainable and viable level in a regulated environment,’’ Mr Vallance said.
‘‘We know it’s important to give businesses the certainty they are seeking and we will have more to say on this in due course,’’ Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.