ALTHOUGH Queensland's 2014 kangaroo-harvesting quota is the highest ever approved for any Australian state, graziers are saying that numbers will remain in plague proportions until commercial processors change their male-only requirement.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection officer Neale Finch told the state Bestprac forum held in Longreach recently that macropod harvesting quotas had increased significantly for 2014 after aerial surveys at 12 monitoring blocks indicated that populations for all three harvestable species had seen a significant increase last year.
Mr Finch said the surveys showed the highest density of red kangaroos per square kilometre in the central zone for the past 10 years, and that the eastern grey kangaroo density was even greater.
Estimates are that Queensland has 8,102,000 red kangaroos, 18,252,150 eastern grey kangaroos and 6,449,750 common wallaroos or nearly 33,000,000 macropods in total.
In all cases, the central zone, which runs from Cunnamulla and St George through to Julia Creek and Hughenden, harbours the majority of these populations.
In the wake of these findings, the combined harvest quota for all three species is 5,011,300, the highest number ever available for the commercial industry to cull.
The figures represent 19 per cent of the state's red kangaroo population, 14pc of the eastern grey population and 15pc of the common wallaroo population.
Longreach grazier Peter Clark is a long-time advocate of a change to the way kangaroos are managed in Queensland, and asked Mr Finch why graziers weren't paid a reasonable agistment fee for the kangaroos on their properties.
The question was treated as a comment but Mr Clark said it should be viewed as a serious question.
"They can just laugh it off because it's too difficult for them, but we are running these animals at a huge cost to us in lost feed, and it costs us a fortune to put fences up to keep them out," he said.
He added that relying on commercial activity to keep the population under control wasn't going to make any difference unless females were targeted.
Mr Finch said the Queensland Macropod Unit made harvest decisions based on numbers rather than gender, and that the male-only harvest decision was commercially driven.
Females made up less than 8pc of the overall harvest in 2012.
Mr Clark said the inability of quotas to sustainably manage populations was borne out by statistics that showed kangaroo populations in the state were growing alongside quota rises.
In 2012, 31.4pc of the commercial harvest quota was utilised.
By July 30 last year, 8pc of the available quota for red kangaroos had been harvested, while for eastern grey kangaroos, 14pc of the quota was harvested in the central zone.
"Given these figures, it is unlikely that quotas will be met for each species in 2013," the Macropod Management Program submission for 2014 quotas stated.
It also showed that the non-commercial take under damage-mitigation permits were below quota in 2012, and this was likely to have been repeated in 2013.
Only 8pc of the damage-mitigation quota available for graziers as a control measure had been used by August 5, 2013.
Mr Clark said he had been using mitigation permits for years and wasn't able to make any impact on the populations on his property.
"It's a joke how many there are we need money to shoot them or fence them out.
"I don't think our policy makers understand the magnitude of the issue, although they mean well.
"Kangaroos are keeping us in drought."