Aspiring political candidate for the Federal seat of Indi Northern Victoria, Mark Byatt has been a long-time member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.
Mark was raised on a dairy farm at Cudgewa in far North East Victoria, where as a teenager, shooting was part of a day-to-day rural life.
In those times as a school student at Corryong High, Mark recalls “shooting was also a regular activity within the school sporting curriculum, with regular clay target shoots at the Corryong clay target range. It was a great experience for regional students of the day”.
Mark has since had an impressive work career and involvement in leading key regional development agencies and community associations. He was in local government as a councillor of eight years (including five years as Mayor) with the City of Wodonga.
Mark is now putting his hat in the ring for a seat in the Federal Parliament, endeavouring to win the Federal Electorate of Indi as the National Party of Australia’s pre-selected candidate.
“I’m often asked, ‘Why politics?’ My response is that my heart is in the region, I am a product of the region, the majority of my career has been in regional development, and I believe strongly in the potential of regional Australia as a key part of the nation’s future growth and prosperity agenda. I like to think I have something to offer at the political table for the betterment of regional people”.
Mark has extensive government, business and community networks. Importantly, he has a very good understanding of all tiers of government, and has well established experience in advocating for a fair share across rural and regional Victoria including in multiple terms leading Regional Cities Victoria and Regional Capitals Australia. With such a diverse and dynamic background, it’s amazing he finds time to run an Angus cattle farm with his wife, and still get the odd shot in eradicating feral pests.
Mark has been a member of SSAA since 1996 and is a long-term member of the Antique and Historical Firearm Collectors Guild of Victoria. Mark says he has been impressed with how the SSAA has responded to the expectations of modern society with the development of sensible and workable policies and standards that balance community outlooks and the needs of a diverse range of shooter cohorts.
Mark says, “Responsible management of sports shooting has long been at the heart of the SSAA’s charter, with great success. With feral pest numbers continually on the rise, I can see a day when pest management strategies and practices will routinely incorporate the value of SSAA member shooters in practice. This largely volunteer cohort, if used appropriately and within the best possible governance frameworks, can perform a valuable service to society, particularly in rural and regional communities”.
Now Mark enjoys time shooting with his son Mitcham (also a SSAA member), getting out occasionally for an afternoon or spotlighting excursion, although he admits to not allocating enough time to get out regularly. We suspect the schedule might get even tighter if he is successful in the campaign for Indi! I’m sure many sporting clubs would welcome him for a shoot down the track.