The Victorian government has recently announced a significant investment in upgrading camp sites and four-wheel drive tracks across Victoria in an effort to stimulate regional economies.
In making the announcement the government highlighted the $2.1 billion a year the state’s tourism industry generates and the more than 20,000 jobs it supports.
Game hunting is a big part of that picture. A report in 2013 revealed that hunting contributes $439 million a year to the Victorian economy and supports more than 2,300 jobs.
The government is updating that report and hunters are being asked to contribute to a new survey.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio highlighted the benefits of nature-based tourism.
“A camping road trip is a wonderful and affordable way to get into nature and there’s no better place to do it than in Victoria’s stunning Alpine region,” she said.
“We’re upgrading campgrounds and four-wheel drive tracks to make family holidays more fun and affordable.”
Australian Deer Association executive officer Barry Howlett has welcomed the investment.
“There are now 41,000 licenced deer hunters in Victoria, and we are the dominant users of the Alpine National Park for more than nine months of the year,” Mr Howlett said.
“The major factor holding back more hunting and the triple bottom line benefits that come from it is access, be that physical access like tracks and roads or legal access like land tenures.”
Recent government announcements about forestry, and a report into land use in the Central West, have hunters nervous about losing access to forests.
“Our numbers are growing; our harvest is growing and our economic contribution to regional Victoria is growing,” Mr Howlett said.
“The government needs to be very careful that any decisions it makes do not stifle that growth.”