Conflict over kangaroo processing

THERE’S hope more jobs could be on the way for the south-west after the state government lifted a ban on processing culled kangaroos. 

At least one business in the south-west says there is potential in processing the animals into petfood, while Southern Grampians Shire is seeking interest to establish a facility in the shire. 

Camperdown-based Victorian Petfood Processors is also supporting the trial. 

The council will be one of 12 local governments included in the two-year trial to begin on March 31. 

“At this point in time I do not know of any businesses who have expressed an interest in setting up a processing facility in Hamilton,” Southern Grampians Shire mayor Albert Calvano told The Standard, but added the council would seek interested parties. 

“Greater Hamilton is endeavouring to pursue every scope for the economic development of the area.”

The trial would only include kangaroos culled under authority to control wildlife (ATCW) permits.

“It never seemed right that licensed shooters could legally cull kangaroos, but couldn’t process that meat in Victoria, and carcasses were left lying in paddocks to rot,” Cr Calvano said. 

The Greens have vowed to campaign to reverse the decision. 

Upper house Greens MP Greg Barber said lifting the ban set a dangerous precedent and warned the industry faced lax regulation. 

“It’s a nonsense to say that these are kangaroos that would have been killed anyway. Permits are handed out willy-nilly, there’s close to zero supervision and now that there’s a quid to be made, everyone will want one,” Mr Barber said. 

“It’s pretty hard to get a permit to sell meat from livestock slaughtered in the paddock, but now you can shoot a kangaroo, throw it on the back of the truck and later sell it for human consumption.”

Western Victoria upper house MP David O’Brien who has lobbied to lift the ban said there was already industry interest in the south-west. 

“I visited Victorian Petfood Processors in Camperdown and spoke with Hamilton’s Roly Rivett to get their perspective on the regulations,” he said. 

“These discussions indicated to me that western Victoria was missing out on this potential industry. As it was, the carcasses were processed over the border in NSW and then sold back into Victoria.”

Mr O’Brien said the trial would not lead to more kangaroos being culled. 

“What we need to be doing is supporting industries in these times of uncertain jobs. The Greens’ hypocrisy is laughable on this issue. They would rather see them rot on the ground or on the roads,” he said.

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