Hunters will lose nearly 80,000 ha of public land that is currently available for hunting in the west of Victoria under a Victorian Environment Assessment Council recommendation.
VEAC released the Draft Proposals Paper for its Central West investigation and invited public comment in late August. The paper contains draft recommendations for public land categorisation and use near the Wombat, Macedon, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Range forests.
SSAA Victoria made a submission to the initial investigation highlighting the importance of access to state forests for hunters, but that appears to have been largely ignored.
“The Association’s position remains that state forest status provides adequate protection to natural resources and the environment while allowing for multiple uses of public land,” said Hunting Development Manager David Laird.
“Unfortunately that view is not shared by VEAC.
“The ongoing ideological push to turn huge areas of state forests into national and state parks has gained momentum with the release of these latest recommendations.
“It is difficult to reconcile losing so much land to hunting with the Andrews Labor Government’s stated position of supporting hunting in Victoria.
“No hunter in the state could accept that a government which truly supported hunting would implement recommendations that would result in such a significant loss of hunting opportunities.”
Hunters do get one small compensation under the recommendations. The official revocation of the Mt Cole Game Sanctuary is proposed and that will allow for deer hunting to occur in the small remnant of state forest in the Mt Cole area.
“However, the paper’s contention that this change will somehow make up for the enormous loss of hunting opportunity shows a complete lack of understanding of the enormity of the effect that these recommendations will have on hunting in Victoria,” Mr Laird said.
The Association will be writing another submission and will also be vigorously lobbying politicians and bureaucrats on this issue.
“With an election coming up in November members would be well served by contacting their local members and ensuring they are aware of this issue as well,” Mr Laird said.
“It is recommended that members put in individual submissions to VEAC voicing opposition to the recommendations as well.”