Roos saved, funds sought

Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Stu­art Horton

The fu­ture of kan­ga­roos liv­ing on the de­vel­op­ment site for the Para­mount Pri­vate Es­tate in Bal­divis is clearer fol­low­ing last week’s 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 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 State Gov­ern­ment to “con­trib­ute fi­nan­cially” to the new so­lu­tion.

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

The thought of ( the kan­ga­roos) be­ing de­stroyed was dis­tress­ing to many. Reece Whitby

have with kan­ga­roos,” Mr Young said.

“We’re happy to look at adapt­ing the terms of the fauna man­age­ment plan, 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.”

Mr Whitby 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.”

Last Tues­day’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’ll 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; while their hearts were in the right place it could be detri­men­tal to the kan­ga­roos long term.

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

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