Roo beauty: Baldivis roos saved from cull following meeting

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
VideoMark McGowan is stepping in to stop the Baldivis kangaroo cull, with alternative homes to be found for the Australian animals.

The future of kangaroos living on the development site for the Paramount Private Estate in Baldivis is clearer today following a meeting between Government and department representatives and developer Spatial Property Group.

Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby confirmed following the meeting that “culling is not an option” and all parties will now work co-operatively to develop a relocation plan that offers the roughly 100 western greys the best chance of survival.

But while the developers have said they are happy to adapt the terms, they’ve called on the government to ‘contribute financially’ to the new solution.

Today’s meeting included Mr Whitby, City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels and senior City staff, representatives from Spatial Property Group, senior Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction officials and representatives from Environment Minister Bill Johnston’s office.

“Many hundreds of people in Baldivis were concerned about these animals; they’ve grown to love them and the thought of them being destroyed was distressing to many,” Mr Whitby said.

“Hopefully we can now give them every chance for survival. Where and how (they are relocated) has to be worked out but we have time now. (Relocation) is something you would only do in the cooler winter months... we need to work on a solution that gives the kangaroos the best chance of survival.”

Mr Sammels said the City’s position was always for the kangaroos to be removed and that the developers had been swayed by the public response.

“Sitting around the table today with the stakeholders there was a consensus (culling them was) not the best decision,” he said.

“We are happy to work with State Government, departments and certainly the developer for the best possible outcome. With culling off the table we don’t want to stand here today to say they should go here there or anywhere else... they will go the best place for their survival.”

Mr Whitby and Mr Sammels also cautioned Baldivis residents not to offer food and water to the kangaroos after some residents placed water receptacles on the property, and said while their hearts were in the right place it could be more detrimental to the kangaroos in the long term.

“I know Baldivians have big hearts... water troughs have been set up in an area to entice them away from the edge of the property so they don’t cause a traffic risk. It is also illegal to feed wildlife,” Mr Whitby said.

“The developer has set up troughs and assured us they have enough water, and human contact may reduce the chances of a successful relation in the coming months.”

Mr Whitby also said the episode could leave a “legacy” and lead to a review into how future developments plan for the presence of wildlife.

“The agencies and Government can look at how better to manage these situations in future, and act earlier and more strategically so wildlife is better looked after in developments,” he said.

“We can certainly take some positives from this so it’s not left to last minute and we have this issue again.”

Spatial Property Group Managing Director Bruce Young said the company had always been committed to finding a solution but was disappointed changes were being made at such a late stage.

“We absolutely understand the community concerns and throughout the process we’ve been steadfast in our position on the connection Australians have with kangaroos,” Mr Young said.

“We’re happy to look at adapting the terms of the FMP, however it is frustrating after working with the relevant departments for two years to gain approvals for this development, and investing considerable funds in that process, the decision has been changed again.

“Given this late change, that has overridden the stipulated guidelines clearly set out for industry, we believe it’s only reasonable that government contributes financially to the new solution.”

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