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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2828

Senator BOSWELL(4.54) —I congratulate the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment (Mr Cohen) on his statement. It is a statement that everyone in the rural industry can live with. However, I must say that I am very disappointed with Senator Georges's comments. I believe that the Minister's statement on kangaroos which he made to Parliament indicates that he has had a very close look at the problem. He has laid down guidelines that I believe will ensure that the kangaroo industry has a future in Australia. This industry has been going for over 100 years and still there is an increasing number of kangaroos in Australia. I have heard estimates of the number being up to 38 million and as low as 19 million.

Senator Missen —Ten million.

Senator BOSWELL —It is certainly not that low. The point of the matter is that there are more kangaroos in Australia than there are people and no one would suggest that people are an endangered species in Australia. Therefore, I cannot see how anyone could suggest that kangaroos are an endangered species.

Senator Georges —How about extending that a bit so I will understand what you are talking about.

Senator BOSWELL —I will talk to you afterwards.

Senator Georges —No, do it now.

Senator BOSWELL —Senator, please let me have a go here.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I suggest that Senator Boswell talk to the Chair.

Senator BOSWELL —Mr President, this industry provides jobs for 3,000 registered kangaroo shooters in Australia and 2,200 are registered in my State of Queensland. It provides a real inducement to local communities. It lifts their economies. There are 30 or 40 kangaroo shooters in many main towns in Queensland . These people spend money on fuel and ammunition and they certainly lift the economies of those rural towns. Small businesses in those rural towns would be a lot harder to run without kangaroo shooters. People who are kangaroo shooters- Senator Georges should take note of them-would either work on the railways or the roads as there would not be any other jobs for them.

Senator Georges —I am not questioning that.

Senator BOSWELL —They have the right to employment and so I think they ought to be taken into consideration. The main problem that the kangaroo industry is facing is not the animal liberationists in Australia; it is not those types of people because I do not think they are making any inroads, certainly they are not making them to the Minister and to the people of Australia. However, they are eroding the kangaroo market overseas, in the United States of America and in the European Economic Community. They have proposed I suggest wrongly, to the EEC Parliament that it should put a complete ban on kangaroo products going into the EEC. The EEC takes 80 per cent of Australia's kangaroo products. If that market collapses the kangaroo industry collapses and then no recognised form of culling will be available. If people think that graziers and farmers will sit down and be eaten out of their farms because there is no culling, I suggest they are very much mistaken. They will use other forms of harvesting. Again I commend the Minister for his very real statement and congratulate him.