South Australian kangaroo processors are worried a change in industry regulations could put them under pressure or even out of business.
- The SA Government is considering allowing interstate kangaroo processors to buy kangaroo carcasses from SA shooters to be turned into products in their own states
- SA processors can buy carcasses from other states themselves but argue now is a bad time for a change
- The State Government has put implementing the change on hold for the moment
The SA Government is mulling over a change that could mean out-of-state processors could buy kangaroo carcasses from SA without needing to establish an abattoir in the state.
In Orroroo, in the state’s mid-north, Dews Meats uses kangaroo meat to make products like kangaroo schnitzels and kebabs.
Owner Taryn Ackland was worried that with the drought knocking down kangaroo numbers, the extra competition from other processors could cost jobs.
“It’s going to have a large impact because of anybody out of Broken Hill, or out of anywhere in Victoria, they can just come across, take the numbers that they want … then take them out of the state to process them,” she said.
Kangaroos are not farmed so processors pay shooters for carcasses.
Rosedale Meats owner Tony Gyss said out-of-state processors could simply headhunt SA shooters rather than bringing in their own, leaving SA processors with no way to get meat.
“So, you’re still going to have the same shooters shooting the same amount of kangaroos and potentially putting us under pressure and potentially putting us out of business.”
Kangaroo populations fall
The SA Government estimates there are about 1.5 million red kangaroos in the state, followed by 1.3 million western grey kangaroos and 570,000 wallaroos, or euros.
For red kangaroos, that is a fall of 39 per cent from the previous year and 4 per cent down on the average.
Eastern grey and euro populations are estimated to be above the long-term average.
However, Mr Gyss said in practice he was having a hard time finding kangaroos to process.
A bad time for change
Macro Meats buys kangaroo carcasses from interstate to use in its abattoir in SA as well as paying shooters locally.
Managing director Ray Borda said he was not opposed to out-of-state processors being able to eventually buy carcasses shot in SA.
However, he said now was a bad time to introduce this change due to the drought and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is such a thing as free trade between states and I do agree with that; the only problem is the timing,” he said.
“Everybody is looking to employ people within SA and this, in its own little way, does not help.”
The change was meant to come into effect from Wednesday, but a State Government spokesperson told the ABC the change has been deferred.
“As a result, the Government will defer the implementation of the changes and further consult with industry stakeholders to ensure that the needs of all market participants are taken into account going forward.”