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Government must help Gippsland farmers with roo problem

The Andrews Labor Government must extend the kangaroo pet food program to Gippsland to help farmers under pressure from drought and help develop local jobs.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the decision to continue the kangaroo pet food trial, first established by The Nationals in government, was long overdue.

Mr O’Brien said although farmers were hoping for a win with the current trial being made permanent and extended into other regions, Labor planned to butcher the program in a way that will make it unworkable. Labor’s announcement today confirms kangaroos controlled on private property with an Authority to Control Wildlife permit “will not be processed under the new system”.

Mr O’Brien called on Labor to continue to allow farmers to participate and extend the program to Gippsland where farmers are already complaining of long waiting times or rejection for control permits, and drought is increasing competition between hungry stock and kangaroos.

“The Nationals in government established the kangaroo pet food trial in 2014 to better control kangaroos and make use of a resource that was otherwise being left in paddocks to rot,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I’ve called on the Andrews Labor Government a number of times to extend it into Gippsland and I do so again now that the trial will be continued. With our farmers in many areas suffering the effects of drought, they are also having to combat kangaroos coming in and eating what’s left of pasture or crops.

“The pet food trial made it possible for professional shooters and the processing industry to help farmers with the problem where they can get Authority to Control Wildlife permits. This should be allowed to continue.”

Mr O’Brien said he had also received a number of reports from local farmers angry at delays in the approval of control permits.

“This is a great frustration for our farmers and although we asked the Premier about it and sought action in Parliament last year, there was been little change.

“There is no reason a sensible, sustainable and well-managed kangaroo pet food program should not be extended to Gippsland.”

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