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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2320 ..

(b) ensure that the ACT does not develop a commercial kangaroo meat industry;

(c) ensure that, in the context of culls being undertaken for biodiversity purposes, the feasibility of utilising kangaroo carcasses for consumption is fully examined in advance of future culling activity, taking full account of legislative, regulatory, social, environmental and market issues; and

(d) by the last sitting day in 2010, report to the Assembly on the progress of this work and arrangements for the utilisation of carcasses in future kangaroo culling operations.”.

I have another amendment, but I will move that subsequently.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.44): Madam Deputy Speaker, it is interesting that this debate has been held in quite a calm manner except for the opening statement from Mr Rattenbury, where he described with great passion how Mrs Dunne was attempting to make this a political football. In fact, of all the debates that have been held in this place probably since the 2008 election, this is the one that has been approached in the most calm manner, and I commend the members for that. So I am quite taken aback by the allegation that it is a political football. In some ways, it is a motion where people seem to be working together to make something which I think for all of us is an unpalatable situation operate as smoothly as possible. Perhaps in the future there is a lesson for all of us.

Mr Rattenbury accused Mrs Dunne of being enthusiastic about this whole notion. I think he is wrong. He then accused us of supporting the annual cull. There is no annual cull. Indeed, the motion before us specifically says at paragraph (2) that we support the government’s decision to conduct this kangaroo cull. It does not say “all culls”; it does not say the “annual cull”; it says “this cull”. Indeed, when you read paragraph (3) in that light, it is about discussing how the carcasses from this cull are disposed of.

I do not see any talk about establishing somewhere in the ACT a commercial kangaroo carcass food industry, as Mr Rattenbury has attempted to assert. I think it is unfortunate that he wants to take that view and try and portray this side as somehow being rabidly enthusiastic about this—and therefore by implication perhaps even the government is, because they are agreeing with the motion—and that he is the sole defender and protector of kangaroos in the ACT. I think that is unfortunate and unfair, because it is clearly not the way in which this motion is being handled by all except for Mr Rattenbury.

It is a tough issue; it is an emotive issue. I remember when I was the minister with responsibility for this issue, it was always a tough call to issue the licences for the culling of kangaroos. I do not think anybody does it willingly. You do it on the advice that you receive from the department, the experts that support the department and the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. I always enjoyed my meetings with the committee, and I found them to be most professional and most considered in their views.

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