Improved game management and firearms laws, along with the construction of the Multi-Discipline Shooting Range, are just some of the reforms shooters could enjoy if Country Alliance does well in the next Victorian elections.
Country Alliance has revealed a raft of initiatives as part of its first stated policy on firearms and hunting.
The political party, which is active federally and in many states and recently re-registered to contest the next Victorian polls, has always maintained a pro-gun position but until now had not made it official policy.
The policy promises it will look at establishing a statutory body to oversee game hunting and pest control, allow consumptive use of all legally hunted animals, ensure clear access to game reserves, and introduce trial game-hunting licences.
It would also push to guarantee all legitimate and widely used calibres were available to shooters, regardless of military or police use.
Specifically for Victoria, CA has enshrined in policy the creation of the state’s Multi-Discipline Shooting Range, fulfilling a promise made to shooters by government but never followed through.
“Since our beginning we have enjoyed wonderful support from firearms owners and many of our candidates have had some form of connection with shooting,” party chairman Russell Bate said.
“Our policies are supported by international experience and evidence. They express the widespread acceptance by the world’s governments and major conservation organisations of the social, cultural, economic and environmental importance of hunting.”
He pointed specifically to a couple of statements from Europe.
The European Commission says: “Hunting is an activity that provides significant social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits in different regions of the European Union.”
The International Conservation Union (IUCN) in 2008 stated: “The overwhelming majority of the 1100 IUCN members have accepted that sustainable hunting has important benefits that substantially aid in the efforts to conserve biodiversity around the world.”
“It is logical that we should apply the same principles in Australia and be supported by good policy,” Mr Bate said.
Among the logical moves CA would make is revising legislation so that people would be permitted to consume or use “any animal or waterfowl, whether native or introduced, that is legally taken under a pest mitigation program”. CA says the fact that ducks are currently excluded from similar provisions in current legislation “is a contradiction and should be removed”.
Some parts of the policy are already being addressed under the latest Victorian game hunting regulations, such as the use of lead shot in sub-gauge shotguns, and CA says it will not only fight against moves to undo these changes but attempt to introduce similar improvements elsewhere.
For the full policy statement see the CA website.