I own a 100-acre paddock that joins state forest, and as a result, I have a huge kangaroo problem.
In August before I went away for a month I shifted the 60 cows and calves to another property as it was nearly a daily chore to fix the electric fence that the kangaroos kept shorting out when they lifted the standoff wire and placed it on top of the steel posts, thus shorting out the whole fence.
If the cattle get out, they can walk out of the forest and down a gravel road to a main bitumen road where the traffic travels at 100km/h, hence a major problem.
On my return I found the fence in a very bad state of repair so I decided to go into the local Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning to see if they could please be a responsible landowner and keep their stock on their property and could they assist with a new fence?
The local lass behind the counter said I needed an ‘authority to control wildlife’ application form, which consisted of four pages which I filled out on the counter and the very helpful local lass then emailed it to Traralgon regional office with the comments “David has a huge problem with roos – can you please assist, additionally I live near David and I can attest that they are in plague proportions – see them around 6 in evenings, they are all our grazing pleasantly by the 100s” and copied me in on October 10, 2017 and that’s where the help stopped.
On October 23, at 9.12am an officer of DELWP rang to make an appointment to meet at the property at 9.30am the next day and I suggested it would be better to come at 4.30pm when the paddock would have 100-odd kangaroos on it.
She said she wanted to see their trails where they came through the fence. Well, at 9.06am she rang and asked where we were meeting, then at 9.29am she rang again to say she must have missed the road and at about 10am she turned up, 30 minutes late.
After she introduced herself I became aware that it was Ms Shoo Roo as another landholder in the district called her after she told him he needed to go to the paddock each night before dusk and shoo the kangaroos away.
She was shown photos and video of the kangaroos taken in the last week and I explained that we had an electric fence but the kangaroos kept shorting it out, and she replied that kangaroos take no notice of electric fences anyway.
I took the officer and showed her the “trails” and where they had eaten and s*** in the paddock, she said yes there was evidence of kangaroos but the fence was in a poor state in some places, to which I replied it’s pretty hard to keep in good repair with nightly traffic of 100 plus kangaroos coming and going.
I asked if I could have a permit for 25 which would allow me to shoot two per month for the dogs over 12 months in an attempt to frighten some away.
Ms Shoo Roo said goodbye and drove off in her government provided Toyota Prado with I think a roo bar wrapped around the front of it.
Last week on my way to hospital in Melbourne my daughter rang after she got the mail to read me a letter from DELWP, that an officer (Ms Shoo Roo) had inspected the property on October 24 and was not satisfied that the authorisation to destroy wildlife was necessary because:
• There were no cattle grazing on the property at the time of inspection;
• An abundance of pasture on the property at the time of inspection;
• External fencing in poor repair;
• Minimal alternate non-lethal controls appear to have been attempted (no I hadn’t been up every night shooing her roos out of my paddock).
Well, is it any wonder when I was admitted to hospital at the Freemasons on November 1 that my blood pressure was up and they ordered an ECG.
In the department’s name there is the word ‘planning’. Is a farmer not allowed to plan to spell a paddock to allow feed to get away so stock can be put on a fresh paddock?
Well, perhaps I should load some cattle on my truck and travel to Ms Shoo Roo’s house and unload them in her garden and let her shoo them out of her property without doing any damage to her infrastructure.
David Phelan, Binginwarri (Aboriginal meaning, “full bellies”, well the Kangaroos have).