Field & Game Australia, along with our colleagues from the Australian Deer Association, attended the invitation-only briefing on the Victorian State Budget today.
There’s a few headline items in the budget which will benefit our branches and members, through supporting the shooting sports, and supporting hunting through wetland conservation and education.
A further $1 million has been allocated to continue the work of the Shooting Sports Facilities Program, including supporting shotgun education, and an important initiative to investigate the best use for the investment in the Field & Game Australia Willowmavin Complex. The Victorian Amateur Pistol Association-affiliated Warragul Drouin Pistol Club will also benefit from this funding. This is on top of the funding grants from previous years that Field & Game Australia branches across Victoria were able to access to improve their facilities and equipment.
Minister for Sport John Eren said “this funding boost will help our shooting clubs be inclusive, sustainable and continue to grow.”
For sport in general, there’s $1.5 million of funding to increase female participation in sport – while details on how this will be delivered are still to come, it’s a great initiative and may provide a great way for our network of branches to encourage more women to come and try the fastest-growing shooting sport today.
Regarding environmental matters:
$2 million over 3 years will be spent on better protecting Ramsar wetlands, through improved monitoring and management. Field & Game Australia made a submission to the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office this time last year, to the review of the Victorian State Government’s performance in meeting Ramsar obligations, voicing concerns that more needed to be done to conserve and maintain our wetland habitats, so it’s good to see funding allocated to these important ecosystems.
$3.5 million over 3 years, recognising the recreational values of waterways, allowing recreational users to better plan activities with more information delivered through multiple channels. Another submission we made last year was for the Water for Victoria Discussion Paper, where we discussed the recognition of hunting as recreational use, and recommended more frequent and transparent communication.
$8.1 million has been allocated in 2017/18 to unlock the benefits of parks for all Victorians. Whether this includes improving signage where hunting is permitted, and reviewing opportunities to facilitiate improved access for hunting (as per the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan) is yet to be seen.