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Letter: Why is killing program not held accountable for $$ spent?

Dear Editor,

Freedom of information data for 2009-10 to 2012-13 show the ACT government spent just under $1million on program delivery in killing kangaroos on ACT public reserves.

However, when the cost of ACT Government staff time in planning and defending the kill across a range of responsibilities (ecology, management, public relations, security, legal, etc), as well as the purchase and hire of specialist equipment and the imputed cost of nature reserve closure to the public for weeks on end are added, the total cost would conservatively balloon out to something closer to $5million over these years.

For much less expenditure on government programs, we naturally expect a comprehensive assessment against outcome measures as justification for ongoing expenditure – in this case, according to ministerial announcements, the enhanced viability of certain threatened species of grass and small animals negatively impacted on by quietly grazing kangaroos.

Yet we find there are no defensible quantitative or qualitative indicators of anticipated outcomes and no measures of any kind even after five years of kangaroo killing.

Is this the level of slack accountability we expect of government decision making in the ACT with public money? If no evidence can be provided what then of other worthy priorities in the ACT that have to bow and scrape for assistance including no doubt for the increasing decrepit natural state of the reserves themselves.

(Professor) Steve Garlick


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