Parks Victoria has failed as caretaker of 199 State Game Reserves set aside for conservation of our fauna and flora and recreational hunting, Member for the Northern Victoria Region Daniel Young said on Friday.
A member of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, Mr Young said a recent land management audit conducted by the Game Management Authority has found that Parks Victoria may be in violation of the Wildlife Act 1975 for failure to prepare a management plan for a majority of the State Game Reserves. Additionally, Parks Victoria has provided no infrastructure for 90 per cent of the reserves.
“State Game Reserves make up roughly two percent of the four million hectares of public land Parks Victoria is tasked to manage,” Mr Young said. “This report reveals that our reserves have been ignored by Parks Victoria.
“The question now is ‘why’? Is this a deliberate decision by Parks Victoria to funnel its resources to other sites it manages? Or is it a lack of resources allocated to Parks Victoria by successive state governments?
“Anecdotal evidence indicates it is the latter, which means the State Government has set Parks Victoria up to fail in its ability to adequately manage and protect our state’s natural and recreational areas. These areas include our current state and national parks.
“As a footnote, it should be recognised that a failure by Parks Victoria to manage 75,000 hectares of State Game Reserves adds strength to the position that the ill-conceived Great Forest National Park, which would lock up an additional 355,000 hectares, is untenable.”
Mr Young said he has been impressed with the commitment newly-appointed Game Management Authority chairman Brian Hine has shown to work with stakeholders to bring about better outcomes for the State Game Reserves. And, Mr Young said, he looks forward to supporting Mr Hine in establishing a framework for improvements.
“We cannot forget Victoria’s first State Game Reserves were purchased nearly 60 years ago by revenue generated through the introduction of the state’s first duck game hunting licence,” said Mr Young, an avid duck hunter and conservationist.
“In addition to providing access to public land for the hunting of ducks, those early hunters also saw greater significance in protecting the wetlands from draining and private-use degradation. They were, by far, Victoria’s first conservationists.
“Today, these efforts have resulted in 199 public land sites – with another one on its way in Kerang – that provide recreational opportunities for hunters, as well as campers, bird watchers, fishermen and others to enjoy for future generations.”
For information about the audit, visit http://www.gma.vic.gov.au/research/duck/state-game-reserve-audit
Caption: Daniel Young MLC (left) was among those who attended the recent Connewarre State Game Reserve Wetlands Centre opening earlier this month. Members of the Geelong Field and Game Branch and supporters volunteered to build the centre for use by the local community and visitors. Volunteer efforts by hunters have helped keep some State Game Reserves accessible to all, while others have been in decline due to lack of management plans by of Parks Victoria.