The landslide win for Labor in the state election was a surprise, but a pleasant one. We congratulate them on their win and look forward to working with a government with such a clear mandate.
From FGA’s perspective I see three very positive outcomes and one concern, they are :-
- Our deep fear that the result would be close and give the Greens the powerful position of being required by Labor to form government, did not eventuate and in fact the Greens' vote was decimated.
- Labor won a clear majority in the Lower House and are close enough to a majority in the Upper that they will be able to pick and chose the minor parties to support their bills. Hence, minor parties in the Upper House will be unlikely to be able to force through issues of serious contention to FGA. It is unfortunate that it appears that no Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidates were successful, although they may have a slim chance in Eastern Victoria. On the other hand it appears that a candidate of David Leyonhjelm’s Liberal Democrats is likely to win a seat in Northern Victoria.
- The attempt by James Purcell to move from the Upper House to the Lower House seat of South West Coast was unsuccessful. He is quoted in the papers as putting this down to the late change in preferences of the Australian Country Party and the DLP. Good to see our efforts in that seat being successful and we trust this will be the end of the move to change our State Game Reserve at Tower Hill into a park.
The issue of concern is the likely election of an Animal Justice Party candidate and four Derryn Hinch Justice Party candidates, the views of both of which are not in line with the interests of hunters and shooters.
To be elected to Victoria’s Upper House requires a quota of 16.6 per cent. However it is important to understand that the fact that somebody is elected to the Upper House does not mean that they have substantial support. For example, the Animal Justice’s Western Victoria candidate who is likely to be elected received about 2.6 per cent of the votes.
In Western Victoria, Derryn Hinch’s candidate received less than 4.5 per cent of the vote. In both cases if they are elected it will be due more to preference deals with other parties and the Labor Party surplus, than their level of public support.
It is also reasonable to assume that Derryn Hinch’s party in particular also benefitted from the collapse of the Greens’ vote.
There are several areas of concern for the future which the shooting organisations raised with the major parties during the election. After a round of meetings with shooting organisations, Labor have committed to the following:-
- A 30% increase in staff for the GMA with a boost to funds of $6m.
- Finalise development of the Adaptive Harvest Model to improve the way in which we assess duck and other bird numbers and to inform duck season decisions. The finalisation of this model will be subject to consultation with an expert panel the membership of which we will be consulted on. This method will strengthen the scientific basis and continue to take the politics out of determining duck numbers.
- In consultation with stakeholders, Labor will appoint a new chair and reconvene the Firearms Consultative Committee in December 2018. The committee will meet on a quarterly basis. The Minister for Police will attend on at least an annual basis, and all meetings will be attended by a representative from the Minister’s office.
- Labor will commit to develop and deliver another Sustainable Hunting Action Plan to follow the completion of the current plan by 2020.
- Continue to work with hunters to expand game meat processing for wild venison and to resolve issues around mapping and access to Crown land, licensed for grazing, for deer hunting.
- Labor will provide a further $2m per annum for Shooting Sports Grants.
- Labor’s $14m hunting package will ensure hunters across the state continue to have access to recreational hunting opportunities that, whilst a recreational activity, have a gamut of other environmental benefits.
This is all welcome news and gives us plenty of work on with the new government over the next four years.