The Sustainable Hunting Action Plan (SHAP) was released this week and is a good news article for hunters in Victoria if the plan is followed and not used as a vote grab.
The report identifies the economic, environmental and social benefits hunting brings to Victoria. There are 60,000 licenced hunters in Victoria, with 82% licenced to hunt deer.
The SHAP outlines a $5.3 million program of initiatives to be delivered by the Victorian Government and partners over four years. The plan’s vision is an essential statement about the role of game hunting in modern society.
Victoria abounds with recreational hunting opportunities and with more than 60,000 licensed game hunters, renewed investment in supporting programs, growing interest in wild foods and increasing recognition of the benefits of outdoor pursuits, hunting is on the up in Victoria.
This government continues to support safe, responsible and sustainable hunting. We recognise the social and economic benefits that it brings to our rural communities. To ensure the long-term future of game hunting in Victoria, it is vital that the hunting community ensures sustainability and responsible behaviour are the hallmarks of this increasingly popular pursuit. Government will share the science that underpins decisions and we must all support the Game Management Authority to ensure hunting is well regulated.
The Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2021-2024 (the plan) builds on the success of the 2016 – 2020 Sustainable Hunting Action Plan (2016-2020 Plan) through another $5.3 million commitment to safe, responsible and sustainable hunting.
The vision remains the same: to grow the economic, environmental and social benefits of responsible, sustainable and safe hunting.
The plan continues to have sustainability at its core, ensuring hunting opportunities for future generations, with a stronger focus on collaboration and building partnerships to maximise the economic, environmental and social benefits of hunting in Victoria. An exciting feature will be an inaugural grant program to support innovative new projects that promote safe, responsible and sustainable hunting. Further details about the grant program will be released in early 2022.
I am really excited about the new ideas, innovation and projects that can be supported through the grant program such as habit restoration, tourism opportunities as well as education and research.
I cannot overstate the importance of our partnership with Traditional Owners. This ensures game management in Victoria reflects Traditional Owner led knowledge and practice. It can provide employment and economic opportunities as well as promote recognition and respect for a Traditional Owner led management of Country. While the Traditional Owner Game Management Strategy is a real achievement of the 2016-2020 Plan, this plan will continue delivering the tangible outcomes of that strategy.
The plan continues to support our transition to adaptive harvest management for game ducks in Victoria, enabling more scientific and sustainable duck hunting seasonal arrangements. This is something we have previously committed to and progress is well underway. There will also be actions that seek to reduce the wounding of waterfowl through hunter education and monitoring.
I am looking forward to working with key partners to implement this plan, continuing to strengthen and build on the 2016– 2020 Plan to ensure safe, sustainable and responsible hunting into the future.
The Hon Mary-Anne Thomas MP
Minister for Agriculture