FARMERS say the state’s kangaroo population is now a plague – but behind-the-scenes work has negated the need for a NSW Farmers conference motion to give Department of Primary Industries the lead in managing the population.
Orange branch delegate Bruce Reynolds put forward a suggestion to allow for easier control of kangaroo numbers where they are in plague proportions in NSW, and for DPI to become the lead agency – not the Office of Environment and Heritage.
“The numbers have exploded,” Mr Reynolds said.
“There are at least three kangaroos for every human in NSW, and, given last couple of seasons, it may even now be four.
“Putting DPI in control… they would focus on kangaroos’ impact on ag production.
“OEH has a far greater focus on environmental outcomes and not really a focus on ag production.”
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A Merriwa branch delegate, however, suggested handing power to DPI would see the issue stall further as “DPI basically don’t exist now anyway”.
But hints from the floor that there was movement ‘behind the scenes’ the branch was not aware of.
The motion was subsequently not put to a vote.
The Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey kangaroos, and Wallaroo population in NSW has risen to 17.4 million, nearly tripling over a decade, according to the Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2017 quota report.
Kangaroos are a protected native species and a licence is required to cull them. But OEH makes special allowances for landholders facing financial hardship caused by kangaroos to apply for special licences.
The combined commercial quota in NSW for 2017 is 2.75 million.
Commercial markets have fallen away in recent years – including the conspicuous withdrawal of Russian trade – which some blame for the population rise.
But farmers have long demanded demanding changes to “restrictive” roo culling and licensing regulations they say contributes to biosecurity, conservation, and public safety risks.
Others say production and infrastructure costs have spiked on account of roos encroaching on crops and breaking fences.