Shooters and Fishers Party MP Rick Mazza has called on the Western Australia government to consider opening up public land to hunters.
Mr Mazza said he wants to see hunters in the state become part of a feral animal solution after revealing the cost of controlling the pests.
“The commercial cost to remove wild dogs is $5000 a head. It is $500 a head for wild deer, $300 a head for feral pigs, $100 a head for feral foxes, goats and cats, and $10 a head for rabbits,” Mr Mazza told the Legislative Council this week.
“I would like to see the community being part of a solution of feral animal control, we would like to see a regulated, controlled method of licensing hunters.”
Mr Mazza moved that the Legislative Council:
(a) acknowledges the use in other states of regulated, licensed recreational hunting systems and the potential environmental contribution made in controlling pest animals on public lands, together with the possible economic, cultural and recreational benefits to the community; and
(b) directs that — (i) the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs inquire into the benefits or otherwise of a similar system being adopted in Western Australia and report back to the house by 26 June 2014; and (ii) Hon Rick Mazza be co-opted as a member to the environment and public affairs committee for the purposes of the foregoing inquiry.
“This motion may be controversial for some, and it may be difficult for some members to rationalise,” he said. “However, I ask members to deploy their mental parachutes and keep an open mind.
“Conservation hunting on government land as a means of animal control in other states of Australia and in countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the United States has very successfully provided economic, cultural and environmental benefits.”
Mr Mazza paid particular attention to the Victorian model and the Victorian Hunting Guide for 2013 booklet in which the minister states: “The Victorian Government encourages hunters to make the most of the state’s outstanding game hunting opportunities. There are now about 43,000 people licensed to hunt game in Victoria, an increase of almost 46 per cent in the past decade.”
“The Victorian government estimates that game hunting in that state currently generates $100 million a year in economic activity,” Mr Mazza said. “That is a significant sum of money. It is something that this state really cannot turn a blind eye to. The cost of managing feral pests in this state, as in other states, is enormous. I fear that authorities are battling.”
Mr Mazza’s request that the Legislative Council’s Environment Committee look into the possible benefits of licensed hunting in the State was adjourned.