Received on July 10 09.
Thank you for your e-mail message of 13 April 2009 to the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, concerning the management of kangaroos at Majura Training Area (MTA). This matter falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, the Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, who has asked that I respond on his behalf.
Defence has undertaken regular monitoring at Majura since 2004. This monitoring shows that the density of kangaroos at the site has been steadily increasing. In April 2009 there were approximately 11,000 kangaroos, which is more than three times the recognised carrying capacity of the site.
MTA contains two endangered ecological communities; natural temperate grasslands and yellow box red gum grassy woodlands. These communities are both listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and are being heavily impacted by kangaroo overgrazing. There are nine endangered species which also rely on these communities. Defence has legislative obligations to protect these communities and species.
The kangaroos have also removed large amounts of grass biomass resulting in large areas of bare ground. This means the MTA is susceptible to soil erosion and weed invasion. This has an ecosystem-wide consequence as other species dependent on the availability of grass are placed under extreme pressure. (QCA comment below).
The Parliamentary Secretary announced that Defence would undertake a cull of over-abundant kangaroo populations at MTA. This was in response to the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s report into the management of ACT lowland grasslands, which recommended an urgent reduction of kangaroo numbers in the Majura Valley, including the MTA.
Defence has also consulted with the ACT Government and adjoining landowners to ensure an aligned approach to kangaroo management in the Majura Valley.
Defence has implemented Dr Kelly’s direction and undertaken a cull of kangaroos at the MTA to reduce the population to a sustainable level.
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal upheld the decision of the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna to issue a licence to Defence to conduct the cull.
The management of kangaroo populations in the ACT is a sensitive issue and Defence ensured the cull complied with relevant legislation and Codes of Practice.
I trust this information will be of assistance to you.
Department of Defence
QCA note: If you look at a previous post Callum Brae, you will see some of the other species eating this scarce grass – sheep.