Independent and scientific review endorses effectiveness of Kangaroo Management Plan

Today the ACT Government has released an independent review into the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Plan which praised the effectiveness and animal welfare standards of the government’s program as ‘extremely impressive’.

Minister for the Environment, Parks and Land Management, Rebecca Vassarotti, said the review was a strong endorsement of a program which gets the balance right, protecting our natural ecosystems while prioritising animal welfare.

“A good Kangaroo Management Program is a program that undertakes the best animal welfare standards, while making sure we manage the impact of species on the precarious balance of our natural ecosystem.

“While it can be very confronting, if we don’t control species that are negatively impacting our natural environment, then we would very likely see the decline and possible extinction of our native grassland ecosystems.

“Under legislation, the Conservator is required to undertake an internal review of Controlled Native Species Management Plans every five years. We decided to go one step further by making the review fully independent and available to the public.

“This review was undertaken independently by Professor Sarah Legge, so that we could assure the public of the efficacy and evidence -base for the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Program.

“Notably, the review found the government’s approach to kangaroo management ‘extremely impressive’.

“The Government has always used evidence to direct the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Plan, and this external review provides the public even more assurance that our animal welfare and conservation methods reflect the best possible practice.

“As part of the review, Professor Legge met with stakeholders from across the Canberra region, including rural landholders, wildlife carers, animal welfare groups and conservation groups, to ensure that all perspectives were considered and appropriately heard.

“I have always been clear, that the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Plan is not a set and forget program. This review makes 34 recommendations which will further strengthen the program with new scientific evidence.

“Some of these recommendations have already been addressed in this year’s program, including increasing the involvement of ACT Government veterinarians in the program and updating communication materials to provide even more clarity for the community.

“Consultation with the Ngunnawal community is also ongoing with the aim to better understand Ngunnawal perspectives on kangaroo management in the ACT and ensure the new plan incorporates community values and aspirations.

“The recommendations will be considered when developing a new Controlled Native Species Management Plan, which will be shared with the community for consultation in early 2025./”

The independent review of the 2017 Controlled Native Species Management Plan for Eastern Grey Kangaroos and more information about the Kangaroo Management Program is available on the ACT Environment website.

Quotes attributable to Bren Burkevics, ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna:

“I welcome the outcomes of this independent review and that it reaffirms the ACT’s Kangaroo Management Program is a robust, evidence-based plan with a strong focus on animal welfare and conservation.

“The independent review confirms that kangaroos are an important component of our grassy ecosystems but too much or too little grazing changes the grass structure and leads to declines in other grass-dependent species.

“The ACT Government is wasting no time to implement the recommendations from the independent review to help guide and inform the refresh of the current Eastern Grey Kangaroo Controlled Native Species Plan. The recommendations will allow the new plan to betake a more holistic view of kangaroo management across all landscapes and within the context of other land management activities.

“We’re also implementing key recommendations from the report in this year’s Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Program, including strengthening our communications to the community, and increasing the involvement of ACT Government veterinarians. Over the next 12 months, additional options to utilise carcasses will be explored as well as strengthening internal administrative processes.

“This review and the independent animal welfare audit from the 2023 Kangaroo Management Program that was released in late 2023 provide full transparency and reassurance to Canberrans that the ACT’s approach to managing kangaroos is very high standard with animal welfare and conservation at its core.

“I acknowledge Professor Sarah Legge for her quality review and all the professional organisations, community groups and individuals that provided information during the process.”

/Public Release. View in full here.