Kangaroo Management in Australia: the need for reform

Thursday 5 September, 2019
Kambri Convention Centre, ANU Canberra

Management of kangaroos in Australia is problematic on a number of levels. Issues include huge fluctuations in populations with significant impacts on biodiversity and primary production; divergent legislative approaches across different jurisdictions; a disconnect between commercial harvesting and damage-control culling; poor market support; and poor or incorrect understanding of animal welfare outcomes from current management approaches.

The results are bad outcomes for the welfare of kangaroos themselves and for the natural resource base on which they and other species depend. There are significant implications for rural enterprises, sustainable farming, drought management, landscape health, the social licence of producers and the kangaroo industry, food security and food waste. They raise challenges for land managers, conservationists, agricultural agencies, regulators, welfare advocates and industry.

Current management of the four harvestable kangaroo species in rangelands and other Australian landscapes reflects a narrow preoccupation with ensuring sustainable populations, rather than strategically addressing kangaroos’ role in the broad ecological and production landscape.

How we can do this better?

A group of leading scientists and stakeholders are working together to address these challenges, stimulate new thinking, and catalyse reform of policy and management approaches for kangaroos across Australia. This will involve improving collaboration, better information sharing, and building a broad-based consensus for strategic approaches to kangaroo management. Such approaches must be underpinned by rigorous science and have the overarching goals of improving kangaroo welfare, avoiding land degradation and waste, and conserving biodiversity.

Two symposia are being delivered in 2019 harnessing the expertise of scientists with significant experience across a range of relevant disciplines, in addition to drawing on the perspectives of regulators, farmers, Indigenous bodies, animal welfare bodies and other key stakeholders. This initiative at the 2019 Australian Rangeland Society biennial conference is sponsored by the NSW Kangaroo Management Task Force in collaboration with the Ecological Society of Australian and with the support of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society.

SYMPOSIUM 1: Held in conjunction with the Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference in Canberra on 5 September 2019.

This sympoisum will focus on the role of kangaroos in rangeland landscapes, including both impacts and opportunities for primary production, natural resource management and animal welfare. The second symposium will be held as part of the Ecological Society of Australia Conference in Launceston in November 2019 and will focus on kangaroo ecology and population biology, in addition to other ecological implications.

Initial outputs of this initiative will include the development of a joint Position Statement from Concerned Scientists outlining key messages and recommendations for policy makers, politicians and the general public. In addition, papers from both symposia will be published in a special kangaroo management edition of Ecological Management and Restoration.


CLICK HERE to register your attendance at this symposium (select Thursday ARS Conference registration)

1330 – Welcome and opening
  • Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP
  • Chair – NSW Kangaroo Management Taskforce – Geoff Wise
1345 – Session One
Overview: why the need for a kangaroo symposium?
  • MC, Dr Rosie Cooney / IUCN Sustainable Use & Livelihoods Specialist Group; Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra
Kangaroo populations in Australia
  • Dr Stephen McLeod / Senior Research Scientist, NSW DPI
Welfare implications of current approaches to kangaroo management
  • Dr Bidda Jones / Acting CEO RSPCA Australia
Relationships between kangaroos, grass and biodiversity
  • Dr Melissa Snape / Senior Ecologist, ACT Government
Relationships between kangaroos, grass and domestic stock production
  • Dr Ben Allen, Senior Research Fellow, University of Southern Queensland
Developing the kangaroo industry: constraints and opportunities
  • Dr Dana Thomsen, PhD Kangaroo Management, University of Adelaide

1515 pm Afternoon Tea

1530 Session Two
Meat quality and product palatability: from hop to chop!
  • Dr Nicole Spiegel / QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Kangaroo production – avoiding waste and maximising value
  • Professor George Wilson, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra.
1600 – Panel Session
  • MC: Rosie Cooney
  • Panel members: George Wilson, John Read (University of Adelaide), Mark Koolmatrie (Kukabrak Elder of Southern South Australia, Ngarrindjeri Man), Cathy Waters (NSW DPI), Leon Zanker (landholder) and Doug Jobson (Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia)
1730 Symposium close – drinks and refreshments