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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4599

Mr CORBETT (MARANOA, QUEENSLAND) -Is the Minister for the Environment and Conservation aware that in many parts of Australia the kangaroo population is estimated to be at record levels? Is he aware that it is dangerous to drive, especially at night, on many country roads because of the danger of hitting kangaroos? Will he consult with the Minister for Customs and Excise and with the highly competent and dedicated State fauna authorities with the object of having the ban on the export of kangaroo products lifted, and so institute the humane harvesting of surplus kangaroo populations and avoid the threatened fearful wholesale destruction of kangaroos by poisoning?

Dr CASS (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Environment and Conservation) - I have already approached the Minister for Customs and Excise in relation to the only 2 States which so far have notified us that they have accepted the advice provided by the working party made up of the experts from the States, not from the Australian Government, on an acceptable program of control of kangaroos. So far 2 States have complied with the working party's suggestions, namely, South Australia and New South Wales. I have approached the Minister for Customs and Excise and expect a reply from him shortly on a lifting of the ban or some modification of the ban to accommodate the 2 States which are complying with the required program.

Until the other States agree with their own expert committee I am not prepared to advise the Minister for Customs and Excise that he should consider lifting the ban for those States. Yet I share the honourable member's concern about the kangaroo and the fact that the problem will lead to the sort of indiscriminate slaughter about which the honourable member is talking. In fact the honourable member for Wakefield in the debate on this question yesterday indicated that in some situations it is quite likely that the farmers will commence poisoning kangaroos because they do not want to be harassed by excessive populations of kangaroos. I concede that this is a problem. We have never been so foolish as to say that the problem would not arise, but it is entirely in the hands of the States. When they are prepared to accept a program which their own experts drew up we will oblige by modifying or abolishing the ban.

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