A bill to amend the Game Management Authority Act aims to support growth of hunting in Victoria and strengthen the management of hunting activity and crucial habitat.
Field & Game Australia (FGA) has been active in highlighting the complexities and the bureaucratic overlays that exists today in the management regime applied to State Game Reserves. This prevents a holistic approach to management to deliver better environmental outcomes. This in turn limits the economic and social benefits that come from public land access.
“A focus on improving management of hunting and important public land habitat and access is welcomed, especially in light of the whole of government approach to growing sustainable hunting in Victoria,” FGA CEO David McNabb said.
“This of course must be underpinned by continuing our primary focus on habitat and water as the key requirements but a good starting point is to bring the GMA mandate into alignment with the Government's commitment to growing sustainable hunting and the broader aims of the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan.”
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC for Northern Victoria, Daniel Young, introduced the bill to the Victorian Parliament on Wednesday.
The Game Management Authority Amendment Bill 2017 includes a number of important changes, which Mr Young told Parliament would strengthen the Authority.
“Since its establishment in 2014, the Game Management Authority has been held back by its own act due to the limited nature of its functions and objectives,” he said “The potential for such a body is of enormous value to hunters in this state and cannot be overstated. But the ability to deliver must be supported by its legislation and appropriately recognised and funded by the government of the day.”
A Victorian Government study commissioned in 2013 determined that hunting contributes more than $400 million a year to the Victorian economy and is a significant economic driver in regional areas.
The Andrew’s Government has adopted the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan to support and grow hunting in Victoria.
Mr Young‘s bill would amend the Act to give the GMA a greater role in managing habitat reserved for hunting.
“Given that the primary use of state game reserves is waterfowl hunting, the GMA must have a stronger role in the management of these reserves,” he said.
If passed, the bill will create four new objectives for the GMA:
- to optimise the social, cultural and economic benefits of game hunting;
- to support the development of recreational game hunting;
- to support the development of commercial game hunting; and
- to work cooperatively with game-hunting bodies in territories and the commonwealth.
“The bill will also amend the functions of the GMA by firstly inserting a new function to inform and educate game hunters and the public about rights and obligations in relation to game hunting,” Mr Young said.”
“The bill will simplify the functions of the authority in relation to compliance by amending its functions to that which is consistent with the Victorian Fisheries Authority.”
The bill would also enshrine a role for the GMA to provide advice to the minister or secretary to assist in the development of strategic policy or legislation in relation to the development or management of game hunting.
The GMA would also be required to publish ministerial directions on its website and in the Government Gazette within 14 days of receiving the direction.
We thank Mr Young for creating a focus on this important issue, and we will keep you updated on the progress of the Bill.