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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Hunting the hunters

Big-spending game hunters will be lured to Victoria under a plan by the Victorian Government. Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh used the last day of the annual duck hunting season to unveil figures showing game hunting was worth $439 million to the state economy in 2013 and supported almost 3500 jobs.

June 18, 2014 3:03am

Big-spending game hunters will be lured to Victoria under a plan by the Victorian Government.

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh used the last day of the annual duck hunting season to unveil figures showing game hunting was worth $439million to the state economy in 2013 and supported almost 3500 jobs.

A survey shows game hunting was worth $18million annually in the Goulburn Valley and $13million in the central highlands. For the Loddon Mallee north the figure was about $26million.

Shooting of pest animals accounted for almost half the value in most Victorian regions.

‘‘We also see opportunities for the sector to develop high-value niche tourism experiences that could attract interstate and international visitors and, in turn, further boost regional economies,’’ Mr Walsh said.

Field and Game Australia welcomed the release of the study that estimated the economic impact of hunting by Victorian game licence holders. Spokesman Rod Drew said he wasn’t surprised by the report.

‘‘The hunting community has been aware for some time that existing economic data was outdated and did not reflect the true magnitude of the hunting industry,’’ Mr Drew said.

‘‘This report helps to quantify the significant contribution hunters make to the Victorian economy.

‘‘The Victorian Government has recognised the valuable contribution the hunting community makes to the conservation, economic and social wellbeing of Victoria and passed legislation earlier this year to establish a statutory Game Management Authority.

‘‘Hunter licence numbers in Victoria have increased by 46 per cent over the last decade with hunters spending typically on fuel, food, ammunition, firearms, hunting-specific vehicles, boats, camping equipment and hunting dogs,’’ Mr Drew said.

But Coalition Against Duck Shooting spokesman Laurie Levy says the idea is just ‘‘spin’’ designed to bring in more hunters because of a dwindling number of duck hunters.

‘‘Peter Walsh can’t control the illegal shooting of threatened species in Victoria by Victorian duck shooters,’’ Mr Levy said.

A new game management authority will come into effect in July.

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