Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2314 ..
acknowledge that. Mrs Dunne, in raising the issue today, does force me and the government to think about, and certainly to act on, the issue.
I was particularly conscious of it—I acknowledge that I did not respond to the consciousness—having regard to the size of the proposed cull this year, a cull approaching 2,000. I received advice in relation to plans for the disposal. We are constructing or will construct pits. We are simply disposing of almost 2,000 carcasses essentially in landfill. It seems inherently wasteful in relation to a product for which there is potentially another use and another market.
The Department of Territory and Municipal Services has developed the view that it would not wish to see the scientific underpinning or basis for the culling become confused or that we send mixed messages in relation to the reason or the rationale for the culling. I have a preparedness to support at least a review and an assessment of the feasibility of seeking other uses or other disposal methods.
If we accept the research that the department has undertaken in relation to community attitudes to kangaroo culling—the community attitude in relation to culling is now very strongly one of support of scientifically-based culling of kangaroos—there is overwhelming support that on the basis of science and the need to protect ecological communities kangaroos should be culled. It is a position that people do come to with great reluctance, but they understand it and have come to that position.
The department has also done some other research. There have been other surveys which reveal that a majority of Canberrans are also either supportive or very supportive. The surveys reveal that 53 per cent are either supportive or very supportive. A significant proportion of those that are not either supportive or very supportive of carcasses being otherwise used are unsure. They do not have a position. Indeed, 26 per cent of people suggest that they are not supportive. So there is now a majority, a short majority, with a significant percentage—22 per cent—not sure or without a view.
In that context, it is reasonable that we do pursue at least an investigation, that we undertake a study. To that extent, I have circulated an amendment to Mrs Dunne’s motion. Mrs Dunne and I have had a conversation on this and Mrs Dunne has indicated that the Liberal Party is minded to support the amendment. It calls on the government to investigate the feasibility of the commercial disposal of carcasses in advance of future culling activity, taking full account of the legislative, regulatory, social, environmental and market issues, and that we report back to the Assembly by the last sitting day of this year.
I do believe that is reasonable and the government is happy to commit to that. I think it is worth our while looking at what feasibly and reasonably might be done in those circumstances. I am mindful that Mr Rattenbury, on behalf of the Greens, has proposed some further refinement. Mr Rattenbury, I understand, does propose to circulate a motion which I think most relevantly provides that the ACT government not develop a commercial kangaroo meat industry. It provides a directive in relation to that.