Queensland Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan has challenged Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon to drive between Longreach and Winton at night and then decide whether kangaroos are endangered.
Senator O’Sullivan said statements made today by the Greens that claimed kangaroos were in decline and were an ‘at risk’ species only further illustrated the environmental movement’s disconnect from the everyday reality for people in rural Australia.
He said grazing pressure from kangaroos was taking up to half of the pastures on some drought-stricken properties across Western Queensland.
Senator O’Sullivan said ridiculous comments from the Greens about kangaroos facing extinction proved its party members never left their air-conditioned, inner-city offices to investigate rural issues for themselves.
“Senator Rhiannon embarrasses herself by sharing conspiracy theories about kangaroo numbers being in terminal decline,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“She only has to drive between Winton and Longreach at night to see the plagues of roos.
“Unfortunately Senator Rhiannon won’t be able to see the thousands of roos littering the roadside when she flies home this weekend from Canberra to her home in inner-city Sydney.
“And, anyway, she also wouldn’t know what to do if she found herself in the bush if there wasn’t a pristine walking track with coloured markers leading the way.
“After the Greens have saved the kangaroos from extinction maybe they can save feral dogs or cane toads by taking them to the capital cities to find happy homes.”
Senator O’Sullivan said he had spent his first year in parliament driving to every corner of Queensland talking to constituents about the current drought.
“I have been driving the rural roads across my state for my whole life. I have seen how the land changes and the impacts of drought and flood and fire,” he said.
“Like pretty much all rural people, I don’t need to read an academic study to know what the reality is.”
Despite this, Senator O’Sullivan pointed to available data that clearly showed the number of kangaroos (Red/ Eastern Grey/ Wallaroo) in Queensland had more than doubled from about 12 million to more than 25 million over the past decade.
“The kangaroo meat and hide industry is an important program for the government to progress – it will create jobs and build wealth in rural and regional areas – something the Greens’ policies seem to want to stop,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“The Greens are just economic vandals who are hell-bent on destroying every industry in rural and regional Australia.
“Their economic strategy would end in us all standing naked and cold in a virgin forest eating wild berries.”