Kangaroo Skin Export Denials and Red Tape

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The Weekly Times published 2 stories of kangaroo skins being wasted and opportunities lost due to government red tape at the state and federal level. 

In an editorial a very good point is made: 

IF YOU’RE going to kill an animal, don’t waste it. Hunters try to do this, farmers try to do this and so, too, should governments.

You do not have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that this threatens the viability of the wildlife management trial.

One meat processor is estimated to have up to 10,000 kangaroo skins in a freezer, while another routinely destroys the skins, potentially worth $3 each, awaiting government approval to export.

Lowan MP Emma Kealy said the approval process — which requires state and federal government agreement — could jeopardise jobs.

“Victorian Petfood Processors now have a stockpile of kangaroo skins from the new harvest regions, which has significantly impacted on company cash flow and is putting 30 jobs at risk,” Ms Kealy said.

So it is strange that with just 10 months of the Victorian Kangaroo pet food trial remaining, the processors involved are not in a position to export kangaroo skins.

This is despite having export approval when the trial was established in 2014. 

It’s like shearing a sheep and not being able to sell the wool,” VPP spokesman David Preece said.
It was the one part of the trial that wasn’t extended last year. Unfortunately, there is no market for the skins domestically, so processors must look overseas.

And without federal and state government approval, looking is all they can do.

Kangaroo leather is extremely sought after across the world for its use in fine leather work and football boots.

A Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning spokesman said the trial was no longer considered small. The spokesman said an application to export the skins under a Wildlife Trade Operation had been submitted to the Federal Government and it was awaiting approval.

But the processors feared it could be too late.

“There’s no certainty the trial will extend beyond March,” Mr Preece said.

“We’re in limbo land. We haven’t heard anything and we’re worried the trial will not go ahead (beyond March).” Mr Scales said.

Casterton farmer Shane Foster said his property was experiencing one of its worst years for kangaroo numbers.

“At the moment, they’re just thick and the last three months the numbers have really increased,” Mr Foster said.

“There could be up to 1000 kangaroos (on farm),” he said.

Under the trial Mr Foster was granted permits to cull 100 kangaroos for processing.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said Victoria would assess the trial later this year, before deciding whether it would continue. Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke hoped “common sense would prevail”.

“Surely the state and federal governments can sit down to make this work,” he said.

A spokesman for the federal Environment Department said it was working with the state on a plan that would allow the commercial export of kangaroo products.

The Victorian Greens oppose the trial, which leader Greg Barber referred to as a “cowboy operation”.

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