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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 3496

Mr FOX (Henty) - I thank the Minister for the Environment and Conservation (Dr Cass) for making the report available to me towards the end of last week. I have read the report of the working party and I find that it endorses most of the recommendations with respect to kangaroos which were made by the Joint Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation of which I was Chairman in the last Parliament. That Committee unanimously opposed the uncontrolled harvesting of kangaroos. It recognised that at some times and in some places, kangaroo populations became too large and that some culling was necessary. But the Committee stated categorically that it believed that controls at all times should rest with governments. This view has been expressed by the working party and to this extent it endorses the view expressed by the Select Committee. But I also agree with that part of the report of the working party's submission which stated that the object of fauna conservation was to ensure the survival in reasonable numbers of all of our native fauna in the presence of man and his activities. I believe that any policy designed to achieve this must establish land use priorities because in my opinion the great majority of that section of our wildlife population which is under threat - and this applies to and includes quite a number of species of the kangaroo family - is threatened not because of hunting but because of the spread of civilisation which has gradually encroached on and eroded its habitat.

The time to enlarge our national park and sanctuary system is now, before some species of the environment are irretrievably alienated. We have the opportunity of avoiding some of the mistakes made by a number of older countries. I think that we ought to take this opportunity now before it is too late. We do not want to waste our opportunities. Any harvesting program for kangaroos must include regulations with respect to age, sex and size, and I believe that only governments are capable of implementing these regulations. I do not believe that all private individuals who have a vested interest in kangaroo harvesting can effectively discipline themselves. Some can and do because they also have a vested interest in conservation, but as a result of the irresponsibility of some individuals I firmly believe that controls at all times should rest with governments. I support the recommendations of the working party and the views expressed by the Minister for Environment and Conservation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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