The Nationals in Government have cut red tape and given more power to drought-stricken farmers in order to help manage the damage caused by kangaroos.

With 100 per cent of the State in drought, kangaroos are competing with livestock for what little feed remains on the ground as farmers resort to hand-feeding their animals. As part of the NSW Drought Strategy, the new approach will allow farmers to apply for licences over the phone or via email to cull kangaroos, and more shooters will be able to operate on a property under the same licence.

Under the new system, carcasses will no longer need to be tagged and left in the paddock and landholders will be able to use the carcass for a range of non-commercial purposes such as bait meat. There will also be increased limits on the number of kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size. Previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said these changes were about giving farmers more power to protect their properties, especially as they managed the challenging conditions. The changes would also maintain animal welfare standards and ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations.

“Kangaroos around local food and water sources are putting significant pressure on farms – we must start to turn that around as soon as possible,” Mr Blair said. “Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left – this is the last thing any farmer needs at the moment. If we don’t manage this situation we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis. I know both farmers and our regional communities are under immense pressure right now but I hope these changes are another way the Nationals in Government can assist in reducing some of the burden of drought.”

In addition, the Government has announced extensions to the commercial kangaroo harvest zones in South East NSW. This is expected to occur during 2019. These changes will reduce biosecurity risks, incentivise experienced shooters to support landholders in reducing numbers, and enable NSW to move towards the commercial culling quotas set by the Federal Government.