Hunters a part of Crown Land Response
The Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the control of invasive animals on Crown land has recommended a single body be given overarching responsibility with more land up to hunting and the coordinated use of recreational hunters to reduce numbers.
Field & Game Australia made a submission to this inquiry, as did our colleagues at the Australian Deer Association, and both FGA and ADA representatives gave further evidence at inquiry hearings.
The Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee report contains 77 findings and 33 recommendations including cutting through the multiple layers of departmental management. “Effective animal control programs require a co-ordinated, long-term, strategic approach,” Committee Chair, Josh Bull said. “But the responsibility for invasive animal control is currently spread between multiple bodies.”
The inquiry particularly focussed on the role of shooting in invasive animal control, including the role of recreational hunters. “There was general agreement that recreational hunting cannot manage Victoria’s invasive animal problem by itself,” Mr Bull said. “However, it may be part of the solution in some circumstances, if the hunting effort can be focussed at particular times and places and integrated into a broader control program involving multiple methods of animal control.”
Even if the State Government takes up the recommendations, progress is likely to be slow.
The inquiry recommends development and implementation of a state-wide strategy to sustainably manage wild deer populations in Victoria, accepting the advice from ADA that the focus should be on preventing the establishment of new populations of deer and protecting high value environmental assets.
Existing and future deer (and other wildlife) management programs involving public land managers and recreational hunters should be assessed against a series of objective criteria and resourced appropriately. FGA recommends the extension of this proposed management program specifically, but not limited to, SGRS.
The Committee also recommends the Game Management Authority employ specialist Game Managers and plat the role of lead agency for the planning and oversight of deer (and other wildlife) programs.
Other significant changes suggested Include legalising the use of sound moderators for recreational rifle shooters in Victoria and allowing the processing of wild shot food for human and pet consumption on commercial premises and consulting with Victoria Police on access to Category C and D firearms to facilitate greater invasive animal and pest control by recreational hunters.
Opening up more land to hunting is a question the wants referred to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council.
The inquiry was detailed and the evidence submitted carefully considered. FGA is grateful for the opportunity to represent the interests of its members, and we will continue our engagement on the issues and recommendations raised in the final report.