The Victorian Government has committed to expanding pest and game animal hunting in its long-awaited Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-20. Presented to SSAA Victoria and its key industry partners overnight, the Action Plan commits to promote responsible hunting, expand the benefits of hunting, improve hunting opportunities and commission research into the sustainability of hunting.
The four-year plan sets out a $5.3 million investment to support more than 50,000 Victorian game hunters. It contains practical objectives for the Game Management Authority, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria.
SSAA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Jack Wegman commended Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford for consulting with the shooting sector throughout the development of the plan. “Ms Pulford has long-supported Victoria’s hunting community which contributes more than $439 million to the state economy each year,” he said. “The Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-20 will increase opportunities for our members and ensure we have accurate data on game and pest animals to refer to in the future.
Among the major benefits of the plan is a commitment to facilitate game meat processing, which hunting groups have been lobbying over several years. The Victorian Government will “investigate and reduce barriers to the processing of wild harvested game meat to allow optimal use of game harvest”.
Under the plan, hunters should see improved access to State Game Reserves. In an effort to expand pest hunting across the state, the Victorian Government will also “explore further hunting opportunities by game-licence holders at State Game Reserves, subject to appropriate pest control protocols”.
Deer hunters will have the opportunity to hunt other deer species in areas managed through the National Parks Act 1975 where Sambar hunting is already permitted. In response to ongoing calls for greater access to deer hunting, the Victorian Government will “explore options to expand hunting in Victoria in partnership with traditional owners, land managers and relevant stakeholders”.
Alongside increasing deer hunting opportunities, the Government has committed to developing a deer management strategy which will aim to “maintain sustainable hunting opportunities while reducing the impact of deer on biodiversity on all land tenures across the state”.
“The Sustainable Hunting Action Plan contains many highlights for hunters,” Jack said. “It’s encouraging to see the Minister listened to our calls for greater access for responsible hunters. Recreational hunting is the most humane and cost-effective way to control increasing deer numbers and pests animals on state-owned land. It has been recognised by the Victorian Government once again today.”
To view the full Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-20, click here.