Right now, a mob of kangaroos stranded on a property at Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula is facing an awful fate.
Over several years, these gentle kangaroos have been living trapped behind tall fencing that prevents them from moving to a nature reserve next door.
Instead of ensuring these native animals are safe, the State Government is allowing them to be killed. The current system allows these peaceful family groups — including young joeys — to be shot under the cover of dark, in a government-approved program. Under a permit system, there is no ‘accuracy’ test for the shooter, nor is it supervised. All they need is the government’s tick of approval as part of a bureaucratic process.
Incredibly, this is legal under current Victorian laws. The plight of these kangaroos highlights the tragic reality of a system that fails wildlife, strips them of their ‘protected’ status and allows them to be killed. And it’s sanctioned by our Victorian State Government.
This is just one of the many instances where wildlife of all species (including those who are 'threatened'), can be killed across Victoria with the stroke of a pen.
The Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permit system is a poorly administered and poorly regulated program that strips wildlife of their 'protected' status and allows them to be killed if land managers want them gone.
The Victorian Government list of ATCWs issued in 2020 makes for disturbing reading: thousands and thousands of supposedly 'protected' native animals marked for legal killing, including emus, wombats, wedge-tailed eagles, kookaburras and kangaroos. And all this even after so many animals died in the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires.
And in addition to this, despite overwhelming opposition from the Victorian community, in recent years the State Government launched a commercial kangaroo slaughter industry — land managers or owners are now able to allow kangaroo shooters on their property, to kill the kangaroos for profit.
The kangaroos' bodies are used for pet food, for human consumption, or exported as meat and skins overseas. This failure to protect kangaroos and, in fact, further introduce a commercial incentive to kill them, is a betrayal to every native animal in our state. And it shows how desperately the laws that are supposed to shield them from harm need updating.
The Victorian Government has already publicly conceded that our wildlife protection laws are outdated, fail to protect wildlife and are out step with community values. This has led to a current review of the Wildlife Act in Victoria. And yet this mob of kangaroos will — like so many other thousands of animals — slip through the cracks of this broken and archaic system while the Wildlife Act review process grinds along in the background. It’s time to tell the Victorian Government to step up NOW.
If you think native animals should be protected, please take urgent action. Use this form to send an instant message to your State MP and the Victorian Minister for the Environment, calling for them to act to protect the kangaroos on this Cape Schanck property, ensure that the Wildlife Act review serves to protect all native animals — and prevents them from being killed under government-approved schemes.