In NSW kangaroos are protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and cannot be harmed without a licence. However, kangaroos are one of the few native species that have thrived since European settlement and most states have programs in place to allow them to be utilised as a resource or managed as a pest.
There are 2 types of licences that can be obtained to manage kangaroos in NSW:
(1) Commercial Harvester (Kangaroo) Licences for professionals and landholders.
(2) Non-commercial Licences to harm kangaroos for the purpose of damage mitigation and public safety.
Commercial harvesting of kangaroos in NSW
Kangaroo meat and skins are marketed both nationally and internationally, with meat being processed for human consumption and pet food.
The commercial kangaroo industry is highly regulated and professional kangaroo harvesters must be accredited and undergo regular accuracy testing in addition to game harvester accreditation to meet food hygiene standards.
They must also comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes.
In NSW there are four abundant species of kangaroos that can be commercially harvested:
- Eastern grey (Macropus giganteus)
- Western Grey (Macropus fuliginosus)
- Red (Macropus rufus) and
- Wallaroo (macropus robustus ssp robustus).
The NSW Kangaroo Management Program is administered by the NSW Government and is aimed at maintaining ecologically sustainable populations. The program includes:
- annual population monitoring
- establishment of sustainable harvest quotas
- issuing of licences and tags for kangaroo harvesters and animal dealers
- public reporting
Non-commercial licence to harm kangaroos
The NSW Government supports commercial harvesting as a sustainable approach to managing kangaroo numbers and utilising them as a resource, but recognises that there are circumstances in which landholders may be required to manage kangaroo numbers to mitigate impacts on agricultural enterprises, landscapes, human health and safety, and infrastructure.
In such situations, a Licence to Harm Kangaroos can be obtained through NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). In addition to obtaining the appropriate permits, all damage mitigation culling must be undertaken according to the National Code of Practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for non-commercial purposes.
In December 2019, the NSW Government issued revised conditions for these licences that reflect updated kangaroo population estimates, and in particular species and zones that have shown significant decreases and been closed for commercial harvesting.
Non-commercial kangaroo shooters best practice guide
The Department of Primary Industries Game Licensing Unit has developed a comprehensive best practice guide for shooters wanting to be involved in non-commercial kangaroo culling.
The guide covers critical aspects of safe and humane kangaroo culling including:
- legislative requirements
- kangaroo species identification
- firearms calibres and projectiles
- marksmanship and shot placement
- disease identification
- handling game meat.
The Volunteer Non-commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide will be provided to all landholders and shooters participating in non-commercial kangaroo culling.
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