A Bill is said to be before the Victorian Upper House to allow camping on licensed water frontages, welcomed by hunters and anglers while farmers are strongly opposed.
Almost 26,000 kilometers of crown land water frontages, most of which are licensed to adjoining landholders, is about to be opened up to campers, largely driven it appears, by hunters and fishers.
Stunning regional Victoria picture by India Armstrong
As the VFF have stated, “Farmers pay for these licenses and manage this land. Camping poses too greater risk of fire, littering and trespass”. (Weekly Times 9/9/20).
As reported in The Guardian in June, farmers are concerned enough as it is with hunters tresspass. Disturbance to stock, litter, habitat cut down and risk of runaway campfires are real issues.
Notwithstanding the safety fears for families who may be nearby.
“Coked-up shooter: Police seize guns, drugs on day one of duck season” – The Age May 2020.
Seemingly oblivious to the negative impacts the minority choice of bird shooting has on community, Sporting Shooters Association’s (SSAA) hunting development manager has “welcomed the move” given the “opportunity it created for duck shooters”.
The leaders of these groups seem to frequently forget many of their members are opposed to what they spruik.
Less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks.
And at their disposal already are thousands of public lakes, creeks, streams, rivers, reservoirs, waterways and wetlands– so many in fact, authorities are unable to map, signpost, list or even estimate their number let alone monitor shooters’ compliance with rules.
Public Land Grab by a Minority Continues with No Respect.
Less than 1% of the population are hunters of any kind, yet as part of a deal between Labor and the Australian Deer Association (ADA) before the last state election, hundreds of thousands of hectares of public land were quietly opened up to recreational deer hunting earlier this year, despite the fact it’s been proven to exacerbate pest problems and farmers/licensees opposed it.
To quote from a SSAA newsletter: “hunters no longer have to gain permission of the licensee to hunt on that land. SSAA Victoria along with ADA has worked for years to see this..”
So much for respect.
It is unclear who raised this water frontages bill initially in the lower house. Was it SFF which really ought lose an “F” or Peter Walsh, Nationals MP who has never disclosed his membership with Field and Game Australia, a hunting body which is backed by ammunition companies?
Either way, It would be hard to believe the government would continue to cave to a minority and worsen the serious problems being experienced in rural areas already.
Let’s not forget the regional campgrounds relying on business to survive.
Frankly, regional landowners and businesses need support now more than ever.
A sure way to do that, is to allow their towns to tap into jobs and cash from the growing nature based tourism trend like the 866,000 domestic birdwatching tourists last year, tourists known to be respectful of their environment and spend big bucks.
We don’t need to impede on farmers for that.
Points of interest:
Cliff fall: less than half a percent of the population shoot ducks, and that's declining - GMA license statistics.