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17 May, 2020

Wallabies win in court

Wallabies win in courtWhen Shai Ager moved back to Cairns after studying at university in Brisbane, she never thought she would end up in a David versus Goliath battle in the Queensland courts over the right to move 400 wallabies.

By Phil Brandel

Wallabies win out

When Shai Ager moved back to Cairns after studying at university in Brisbane, she never thought she would end up in a David versus Goliath battle in the Queensland courts over the right to move 400 wallabies.

In October 2017 Shai heard about the number of Wallabies that were being killed in and around the Captain Cook Highway near Trinity Beach.

After moving back to Cairns, Shai applied for a permit from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to relocate some of the wallaby population.

The DES initially awarded the permit, but a couple of days before the relocation started DES retracted the permit, claiming it was awarded “erroneously”

Since then the Agile (Wallaby) project, a not for profit that Shai set up, has been fighting the decision.

Last month Shai and DES went to Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Being a not for profit group Shai ended up representing herself, standing up against a barrister that had been hired externally by the government.

On May 1, QCAT found in favour of The Agile Project, over the refusal to relocate a large number of agile wallabies from the Trinity Park and Beaches area.

Shai said that they are still coming to grips with the result “I’m still over the moon with the QCAT result. after three long years... we finally will be able to relocate the wallabies."

Shai claims DES spent around $250,000 on legal fees.

“Instead of spending all that money, they could have spent that money helping us or saving wallabies,” she said

“We pay for all of our own relocation fee’s; we don’t charge the government anything.”

During the court hearing, Federal MP Warren Entsch took to the stand saying that he supported the Agile Wallaby project.

Shai says that there are nearly 1000 wallabies near the Captain Cook Highway and the Agile Wallaby Project has recorded over 650 wallaby deaths by car strikes or dog attacks in the past 12 months.

“We should be able to start the relocation in the next few weeks or so and spread the wallabies over 2 separate locations.”

Shai also admits that a possible third location on the Tablelands is being looked at.’

“A lot of people on the Tablelands have said that we are welcome to relocate some of the wallabies on their properties. Before we can do that we have to assess locations.”

For more information about the relocation and agile wallabies go to https://www.theagileproject.com.au/

Shai Ager and rescued wallaby 'Enzo'


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