A Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP has called for the hunting of kangaroos to be allowed to fight what he has labelled ‘‘problematic’’ population numbers.
State Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young made the call after DELWP announced it would conduct aerial kangaroo surveys across Victoria for the first time, ending September 30.
Mr Young welcomed the survey calling it the ‘‘first step’’ to understanding the extent to which kangaroo populations are becoming unmanageable.
‘‘Should the survey show that kangaroo numbers are problematic, as I believe they are, the State Government needs to next consider that current management practices are not sustainable,’’ he said.
‘‘As such, this is an ideal time to start talking about alternatives. One such alternative would be to reclassify kangaroos to game for hunting purposes.’’
Victorian Nationals deputy leader and State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan echoed Mr Young’s calls and said she believed there should be consideration for expanding the kangaroo pet food scheme to also include deer.
‘‘Deer are a pest animal that do enormous damage to the environment,’’ Ms Ryan told parliament.
‘‘Extending the current kangaroo pet food trial to include deer would enable landholders to enlist the support of appropriately licensed shooters to help control their spread in a measured and regulated way.
‘‘It would also ensure the carcases of any animals can be processed as pet food, instead of being left to rot.’’
The kangaroo pet food trial has been extended until March next year yet the future of the program is unclear.
Pet food abattoirs in Stanhope and Seymour are currently involved with the process that Ms Ryan said had helped to bring jobs to the Euroa electorate, yet she believed more needed to be done.
‘‘Earlier this year I was contacted by Ian Ross from Mia Mia who estimates that at least 1000 kangaroos are on his property at any one time,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘He has been controlling the kangaroo population for a number of years with permits but feels, given the small number of kangaroos his permits allow, it has not made any noticeable impact.’’
Strathbogie resident and professional shooter Graham Moore said he supported the scheme because he believed the number of pest animals was continuing to grow.
A spokesperson for Strathbogie Shire Council, which includes the towns of Euroa and Strathbogie, said the shire ranger mainly dealt with kangaroos following a collision with a car, but that the council did issue permits to control the population.
Mitchell Shire development and infrastructure director Jeff Saker said that like other councils with rural and semi-rural areas, the shire experienced kangaroo populations gathering on public and council land reserves but currently has no kangaroo management plan.
‘‘A kangaroo management plan would require discussions with DELWP and other stakeholders to determine what the plan may detail,’’ Mr Saker said.