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Q and A: ACT government's kangaroo kill in Googong NSW

A large proportion of the kangaroos killed during the ACT government’s 2017 kangaroo kill were shot in the Googong Foreshores in NSW.
But... how can the ACT government kill wildlife in another state?
Here are some questions and answers about this perplexing issue.

How can the ACT government kill kangaroos on NSW land?

The Googong Foreshores are connected to the Googong Dam water reservoir. This reservoir provides water to the ACT. The Commonwealth government therefore acquired it from NSW and leased it to the ACT government.

Does the ACT government’s new ‘pest management’ plan for kangaroos apply to the kangaroos at Googong?

The ACT government’s recent ‘Controlled Native Species Management Plan’ for Eastern Grey Kangaroos explicitly states that the plan does not apply to killing Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Googong (pp 5 and 7). If the plan had applied, the government would not have needed licences to kill the kangaroos at Googong.

As the plan did not apply, licences to kill the kangaroos were required.

Whose laws apply - NSW's or the ACT's?

Since the land on which the animals were killed is in NSW, the ACT government had to apply for NSW licences to kill the kangaroos under NSW laws.

If the killing took place in NSW, was it a commercial cull?

If the ACT government claimed its cull was for so-called 'conservation purposes', a non-commercial licence application form would have been required (‘Application to Harm Fauna in New South Wales, section 121 Occupier’s Licence (non-commercial)’). This application form requires the applicant to list the non-lethal methods of control they are using to reduce the problem, including the length of time trialled. It is not known what non-lethal methods of control the ACT government listed on its application form, if any.

Can a tribunal review a decision to grant a licence to kill kangaroos in NSW?

There are very limited appeal rights regarding wildlife licence decisions under the relevant NSW laws. Requests for appeal can be made only by the licence applicant, and the appeal must be made to the Minister.

Can a court review a decision to grant a licence to kill kangaroos in NSW?

To seek judicial review of a decision to grant a licence to kill native wildlife in NSW, you would need to argue that the decision was not made according to law. Going to court is always a last resort. It is expensive and only certain entities have ‘standing’ to apply for review. Advice from an experienced solicitor or barrister is essential before contemplating review by a court of an administrative decision.

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