The Andrews Labor Government today unveiled Victoria’s new Sustainable Hunting Action Plan to ensure hunting remains safe, responsible and sustainable for future generations.
Field & Game Australia and representatives from other recreational hunting organisations joined Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford and newly appointed Game Management Authority (GMA) Chair Brian Hine at a dinner at Parliament House to mark the launch last night.
Funded in the 2016-17 Victorian Budget, the four year plan sets out a $5.3 million investment to support more than 50 000 Victorian game hunters.
It sets out practical objectives for the GMA, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria in coming years.
These include promoting responsible hunting, improving hunting opportunities, and maximising the economic, environmental and social benefits of the sport.
"This is a significant milestone for game hunting in Victoria and will be used to guide government and recreational hunters into the future," Minister Pulford said.
"It's vital that we continue working hard to ensure that people who want to hunt can do so in a safe, sustainable way."
Hunting continues to grow in popularity and make a significant contribution to our state’s economy. An estimated $439 million flows into towns and regional centres across Victoria, supporting approximately 3,500 jobs.
The major initiatives in the plan are;
Facilitate game meat processing — by investigating and reducing barriers to the processing of wild harvested game meat to allow optimal use of game harvest.
Developing a sustainable hunting research strategy for Victoria in order to better inform decisions about the current status of game resources, sustainable harvest levels and the impact of hunting activity.
Implementation of a Waterfowl Conservation Harvest Model using the best scientific methods to predict the impact of environmental factors and hunting on game duck populations.
Improve State Game Reserve habitat — by building on an audit of all State Game Reserves, developing management principles to maintain quality habitats, and establishing two demonstration sites in collaboration with hunting organisations where the new management principles will be put into practice.
A single, comprehensive hunting website, an improved distribution network for a new hunting manual,and the upgrading of the game licensing system to allow for more targeted messaging to hunters.
Improve seasonal announcements — by effectively communicating information to stakeholders when seasonal variations are required or areas are temporarily closed to hunting. Early advice will be provided through the Victorian Game Hunting App, Twitter and Facebook.
Conducting a study every five years to determine the contribution of hunting to the economy.
Improve hunting location knowledge — by:
• developing a map set for Victoria showing where different game hunting can occur on public land.
• improving signage on State Game Reserves.
• improving signage on other public land where hunting is permitted including National Parks and high use State Forests.
Expand pest hunting — by exploring further hunting opportunities by game licence holders at State Game Reserves, subject to appropriate pest control protocols.
Develop an online game licensing system — that allows online processing and payment of game licences.
Develop a deer management strategy — that sets a strategic plan to maintain sustainable hunting opportunities while reducing the impact of deer on biodiversity on all land tenures in the state.
Support the Australian National Hunting Archive — by helping the Archive to develop an electronic catalogue system of historical information that can be accessed by the public.