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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 192

(Question No. 885)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 9 May 1984:

(1) Did Professor Ovington estimate that the population of red, eastern grey and western grey kangaroos was between 10-12 million at some time since 1981; if so, when was this estimate made and given to the Australian Government.

(2) Was this information received by the Government prior to the June 1983 issue of 'Australia: Current Report'.

(3) What other recent reports (if any) has the Government received of kangaroo populations since June 1983. (See answer to question No. 792, Hansard, 8 May 1984, page 1771).

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Professor Ovington has advised that the only kangaroo estimates he has provided have been based on advice from State wildlife authorities and scientists from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and universities following aerial and other surveys. Professor Ovington is not aware of any survey which has yielded an estimate of 10 to 12 million.

(2) See (1). The June 1983 issue of 'Australia: Current Report' contained the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication.

(3) Since June 1983, the Government has received reports on aerial surveys of kangaroo populations carried out in 1983 in areas of New South Wales and South Australia. In the areas surveyed, the estimated populations were 3.4 million red and 2.1 million eastern and western grey kangaroos (compared to 5.7 million red and 3.7 million eastern and western grey kangaroos in 1982) on the western plains of New South Wales and 864,000 red and 208,000 western grey kangaroos ( compared to 1,365,000 red and 329,000 western grey kangaroos in 1982) in the commercial harvesting area of South Australia. These surveys suggest populations in these States fell by about 40 per cent as a result of the 1982-83 drought. Populations in other States do not appear to have been affected to the same degree. Aerial surveys will be conducted widely in 1984 and, until the results are available, any estimate of population must be considered conjectural. Pasture conditions are now excellent throughout most of Australia and kangaroo numbers are expected to increase.