The animal welfare organisation that proposes to tranquilise and relocate ACT kangaroos says Greens minister Shane Rattenbury has been unco-operative and has delayed giving crucial information that is needed for their anti-cull plan.
The director of Alphadog AnimalArmy, Marcus Fillinger, said its yet-to-be-lodged proposal for translocation was futile, as the organisation had been informed by Mr Rattenbury in October a cull would go ahead this year.
Mr Rattenbury has disputed the claims, saying no decision has been made, but he indicated there was a window of only weeks if a trial of the alternative kangaroo management practice were to influence policy.
Mr Fillinger said he had asked since October for full figures on last year's cull costs, and the organisation's proposal could be submitted to the Conservator of Flora and Fauna within weeks of the details being provided. The details would be needed for a cost-benefit analysis.
He feared, however, he was wasting his time.
"The translocation is against the kangaroo management plan," Mr Fillinger said.
"It's futile - this is an exercise in futility. Rattenbury knows it will be rejected."
Mr Fillinger and Alphadog project co-ordinator Willow Sloane said Mr Rattenbury had said in a meeting with them on October 8 that there would be a cull.
"He left us in absolutely no doubt that there were certain and definite plans for a cull in 2014," Ms Sloane said.
"He said if translocation was allowed, it would be a trial and it would be in conjunction with a cull."
Mr Rattenbury, the Territory and Municipal Services Minister, rejected the claim, saying the government had neither figures for kangaroo counts nor proposals for a cull this year.
He also said the government had not had the costs information until recently.
"A decision has not been taken as to whether a cull will be undertaken in 2014, but I will continue to explore alternate options for kangaroo management in the future and I look forward to receiving Mr Fillinger's submission," Mr Rattenbury said.
The sole Greens MLA, who last year told his directorate staff to work with Alphadog to see if a large translocation trial was feasible, said Mr Fillinger had been told the information would be shared as soon as it was available.
No date has been given for its release, but Mr Rattenbury said a trial needed to occur by February this year, before a cull window.
"Mr Fillinger understood this, and agreed to lodge a proposal to meet this time frame," the minister said in a statement on Friday.
Mr Rattenbury said Mr Fillinger, a trained military marksman, offered to identify possible sites for translocation.
"So far he has not done so, and now is instead attempting to charge the government for this, submitting a quote for a service that was not requested or required," the minister said.
Mr Fillinger said he had presented Mr Rattenbury and Parks and Conservation director Daniel Iglesias with various release site options in an initial meeting last June, but as the government refused to accept they were suitable, he needed an independent report produced.
While Mr Fillinger was coy about where he has successfully removed kangaroos, he said past relocations gave him confidence the government would save money through his dart and depart methods.
Figures issued under freedom-of-information laws in November indicated the ACT's kangaroo cull cost more than $270,000 last year.
Mr Fillinger denied being given a deadline to lodge his proposal or complete a translocation trial.
“[Kangaroo] counts are not complete – so how can you move something that you don't even know needs to be moved?” Mr Fillinger said.
A senior adviser in Mr Rattenbury's office emailed Mr Fillinger on November 22 to say a 2014 cull was likely but there was not yet a kangaroo count number.
"There is no budget for a 2014 cull at this stage, however, we do know that it is likely that a cull of some size will need to proceed in 2014, even if a translocation trial were undertaken," the adviser said.
"...Of course, this all depends on the kangaroo count number which we do not have yet."
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