Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5795 ..
March 2010 establishes the rationale and methodology adopted for conducting kangaroo culls. Assessment of kangaroo numbers is undertaken prior to any culling activity, and a detailed operational plan is developed for each operation. As a part of this work, the government prepares and implements a communications plan.
The next communications plan will respond to the Assembly’s desire to see more information about the rationale and conduct of culling made available to the community, bearing in mind the need to ensure culling activity is undertaken in a manner that minimises risk to members of the public. The timing of the next cull is dependent on seasonal conditions but it is likely that there will be a cull some time in late autumn or early winter in 2011.
In relation to the second action, the examination of the feasibility of the commercial disposal of carcases, I can report to the Assembly that a process is well underway to investigate the issue. The government is committed to best practice land management and responsible management of kangaroo numbers in the ACT’s nature reserves. Finding a way to use a resource that is otherwise wasted would be a good outcome.
As members are aware, the ACT has no commercial kangaroo harvesting program. Kangaroos in ACT reserves are culled only for biodiversity management reasons. However, it is reasonable to consider whether ACT kangaroo carcases resulting from non-commercial culls may be used for some productive purpose. It is instructive to consider the system for managing commercial use of kangaroo carcases in other jurisdictions and whether it is feasible to use the same or a similar system in the ACT.
Across Australia, the kangaroo industry generates over $270 million annually and employs around 4,000 people. Annual harvest quotas are based on scientific population surveys and vary depending on the season. However, quota numbers are usually in the millions.
In New South Wales, the overall system is guided by a kangaroo advisory management panel through an approved kangaroo management plan. Kangaroos are harvested by licensed shooters who provide carcases to commercial processing companies that operate chiller trucks. In the capital region, chiller trucks are based in Braidwood, Queanbeyan, Tumut and Cooma. Carcases are then transported to a processing facility, either to South Australia in the case of carcases destined for human consumption or to Hay for processing as pet food.
To provide an idea of the scale of the system, one large processing company based in South Australia has standing orders requiring in the vicinity of 10,000 kangaroo carcases per week. By contrast, in 2010, the total number of kangaroos culled in the ACT was 1,800 or around one day’s supply for a single large processor. In this context it may prove that the overall resource available in the ACT is not of commercial significance.
Another factor being examined is that of commercial liability. Harvesters require a constant year-round supply and the ability to obtain animals in a time-efficient manner. In a commercial operation, the harvested animal is normally field-dressed on site. This field-dressing requires removal of the head and of the contents of the