The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Control of Invasive Animals on Crown Land report has been released.
SSAA Victoria was one of 220 organisations or individuals that prepared submissions for the inquiry. The Association – alongside Australian Deer Association – was in the unique position to provide extensive, relevant experience for the inquiry. It was able to draw on its involvement in current deer control activities in National Parks.
Chief Executive Officer Jack Wegman and Program and Training Co-ordinator David Croft were invited to present on SSAA Victoria’s submission at the committee’s public hearings on September 5, 2016.
Many of SSAA Victoria’s views are reflected in the committee’s findings and recommendations, which is testament to the hard work of the Association in this area. Our long-standing commonsense, practical and professional approach to dealing with hunting issues has stood us in good stead.
The committee identified that invasive species control was a complex area, which required many different approaches, or combination of approaches. It included recreational hunting and volunteer hunter control programs. SSAA Victoria has long said that volunteer hunters involved in formal control programs, like the Conservation and Pest Management program, had a valid, relevant and important role to play.
The committee’s report contains 76 findings and 33 recommendations. SSAA Victoria highlighted several considerations that were included in the findings. They were:
- Overwhelming support for shooting (including co-ordinated volunteer hunting programs) in invasive species control.
- Co-ordinated recreational hunting programs have been successfully used for invasive species, other than deer, and complement the use of other control techniques to achieve landscape-level control.
- There are more areas of Victoria that would benefit from recreational hunting to control invasive animals.
- The current access to tracks on public land and their condition are limiting the number of invasive animals recreational hunters are able to cull, and their ability to remove carcasses.
Of greater significance were the recommendations made by the committee. SSAA Victoria called for several changes, which were included in the report. They were:
- That the Victorian Environment Assessment Council undertake a land use investigation to assess what areas of public land could be available for recreational hunting.
- That the Victorian Government review its current pest management plans and explore legislative barriers that prevent shooting of pest species, whose control might be assisted by recreational hunters.
- That the Victorian Government consult with Victoria Police in relation to recreational hunters having access to category C and D firearms to facilitate greater invasive animal and pest control.
- That Victoria Police consider including recreational hunters participating in co-ordinated invasive species control programs within the categories of people eligible to obtain noise suppressors.
It is a great achievement for SSAA Victoria to have played a major role in shaping the committee’s findings. Moving forward, the challenge will be ensuring that the findings and recommendations are implemented and that meaningful change occurs.
SSAA Victoria has been working on a number of issues that have been highlighted by this inquiry. Some of these overlap with issues arising from the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-2020. Details are currently being finalised, but SSAA Victoria hopes to make a major announcement about a new project in the near future.
For a copy of the full report click here.