THE future of Victoria’s divisive kangaroo pet food trial is up in the air.
Last year the state government made a last-minute decision to extend the trial by another 12 months, bringing the program end date to March 31, 2019.
The announcement came one day before the program was due to end.
At the time, Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the one-year extension would allow the government to re-assess whether the trial was sustainable to the state's kangaroo population.
Now, a state government spokesperson has said a decision on the trial’s future is “expected shortly”.
“Following an evaluation in early 2018, the trail was extended in order to determine long-term trends and impacts on population,” the spokesperson said.
“The kangaroo pet food trial is currently being evaluated and options are being considered for the future of kangaroo processing in Victoria post the conclusion of the trial.”
The spokesperson said the purpose of the trial was to reduce the waste of carcasses from kangaroos which would have been controlled under an Authority to Control Wildlife.
Editorial: Kangaroo pet food trial makes perfect sense
The trial originally started in 2014 as a way to reduce the waste of kangaroo carcasses controlled under Authority to Control Wildlife permits. It was extended in September 2016 to March 2018.
The program allows permit holders in 16 local government areas to cull or remove kangaroos off private land for commercial processing.
A statewide kangaroo population survey in September 2017 found Victoria had an overall kangaroo population of about 1.44 million.
Central Victoria had the highest density of kangaroos with 48.5 kangaroos a square kilometre.
A state government’s pet food trial evaluation in March 2018 found that there were a number of key risks associated with introducing a financial incentive into the ATCW system.
“Numbers of kangaroos approved for control have risen sharply in trial areas. While there may be several contributing factors, a comparison of the increase in trial and non-trial areas shows that the trial is likely to be the primary cause of the increase. The current design also presents some limitations with monitoring, regulation and compliance,” the evaluation read.
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