Advocates renew calls for exclusion

This joey died a painful death after its arm was shot off near Maldon.

Concerned local residents and wildlife advocates have renewed calls for an end to commercial kangaroo shooting in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges Shires and beyond.

They have called on the federal government to step in regarding the Victorian Government’s Kangaroo Harvesting Management Plan.

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s request to be excluded from commercial kangaroo killing, has been snubbed by the state government, while other local government areas have been granted exclusion from the plan which has recently closed for comment.

Residents are urging Federal Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek to step in and stop kangaroo killing, at least until due diligence can be performed. They have also appealed to Mount Alexander Shire Council to continue to speak up for them and demand exclusion from the KHMP.

The latest submissions to the federal government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water Wildlife Trade Assessments team regarding the ‘Proposed Wildlife Trade Management Plan: Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2024-2028’ coincided with the report of another act of animal cruelty involving a joey on the outskirts of Maldon.

In the latest incident just prior to Christmas the joey was left to die a painful death after its arm was blown off.

Residents believe a commercial shooter was responsible as they say the shooting lasted several hours into the night, but the single joey was the only animal discovered in the aftermath, suggesting other killed roos were removed, as commercial shooters are required to do. This roo was partially obscured by a log and was likely missed.

A local wildlife advocate told the Express the small roo was a mere 20 metres from the property boundary and clearly trying to escape when it was shot.

“If it was shot under an Authority to Control Wildlife it’s just as disappointing. The property owner has made no attempts at non-lethal control. There has clearly been no effort to maintain the fences to keep roos out. Naturally at this time of year they are going to enter properties in search of water when none can be found in our local parks,” they said.

Local advocates are also deeply concerned about the controversial new plan expanding the KHMP into public lands, state and national parks with these sites being kangaroos’ last remaining safe haven due to rampant urban expansion.

They say this ill-conceived concept would only push kangaroos onto roads and into neighbouring farms and properties. An outcome the government no doubt wants to avoid.

“Community members and tourists want to see roos in our parks. Providing more water sources in our parks and not shooting at these animals in our parks – would deter them from entering private properties. It’s a win, win,” one advocate said.

The proposed WTMP has been prepared by the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action for consideration as an approved WTMP under section 303FO of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The plan aims to ensure the commercial harvest of Macropus giganteus (eastern grey kangaroo) and Macropus fuliginosus (western grey kangaroo) in Victoria is ecologically sustainable. It provides a framework for the application of available scientific information, best management practice and monitoring outcomes to ensure the viability and welfare of wild populations is not compromised by any action undertaken in accordance with the proposed WTMP. 

Comments on the proposed WTMP closed on December 11.

If approved, the proposed new WTMP will remain in force for up to five years from the day after the date of its declaration. 

Local advocates reiterate that no safety risk assessments have been conducted, and no cost benefit analysis has been performed.

“The Victorian KHMP imposes unacceptably negative impacts on our environment and ecosystems, on biodiversity, landowners, tourists, amenity and health. 

“Importantly, it is not evidence based, reliant on ‘flimsy’ data and it is impossible to monitor the humane treatment of animals,” one advocate said.

“We hope the federal government will take our concerns on board.”