Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2316 ..
kangaroo culls being made available to the public; thirdly, does this Assembly support the carcasses generated from this cull being disposed of commercially? I would like to speak to all of those points, and I will flag now that the Greens will be moving an amendment to the motion to reflect what we think is a certain lack of clarity in the text which means that this motion does not accurately represent the issue at hand.
On the first point of support for the cull, the ACT Greens have held a view over a number of years that the ACT needed a long-term, integrated management plan for kangaroos in the territory to respond to a number of challenges that face us as an urban community that has a strong interface with our non-urban environment. We proudly call ourselves the bush capital, and there is no doubt that there are some significant land management challenges that come with that. The protection of our biodiversity is one of those.
We hold the view, like many in the community, that a cull of kangaroos to achieve biodiversity objectives in our grasslands and woodlands is a distasteful but necessary measure to protect the biodiversity values of our region. Personally, I find this an extremely difficult issue to have to address, but I am mindful of the fact that difficult decisions need to be taken in regard to these matters. But it is one thing to support management; it is another thing to be enthusiastic about culling, and the Greens are certainly not that. We recognise the real dilemma that is faced here, and it is one that both I and my colleagues have spent quite some time thinking about and continue to research to make sure that we have the best information that we can.
This is not a position we have reached easily or quickly. I must say that each year we are challenged by those who oppose any culling of kangaroos to rethink the position that we have taken. I welcome those challenges, as I think we all should, particularly if they are accompanied by new information as to how we might be able to avoid a cull. We welcomed the government’s kangaroo management plan when it came out earlier this year. It is a comprehensive document, well researched and fully referenced. Alongside the grasslands report released by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment last year, it gives a guide to how our jurisdiction will manage this particular species—a species that we love to see around our bush capital, but one that also has significant impacts on other species in our grassland and woodland habitats in particular.
The case has been clearly made that, along with other practices, kangaroo grazing can have a detrimental impact on our grassy ecosystems. Of course, alongside kangaroo grazing is grazing impacts by other animals, mowing regimes, feral animals such as rabbits, the impacts of exotic plant species and the poor use of fire as a management tool to encourage the regeneration of precious habitats. The commissioner’s grassland report does a full assessment of the grasslands in the ACT, recommending a range of management measures, and I understand that the government is implementing many of the recommendations in that report.
It is important this happens, because under no circumstances must culling of kangaroos become the centrepiece of our grassland management. I appreciate that it is certainly the most contentious, but we will do well to ensure we discuss it in the context of other actions that are being taken. This is certainly not a war against