Assessment of the GMA's compliance and enforcement function
The Game Management Authority (the GMA) is committed to ensuring that game hunting in Victoria is sustainable and responsible. Following the unacceptable behaviour of a minority of hunters at the 2017 duck season opening at Koorangie State Game Reserve, the GMA commissioned and engaged Pegasus Economics to undertake an independent review (the review) to help us improve the regulation of game hunting in Victoria.
The review provides us with independent advice to evaluate the following:
- The regulation of game hunting in Victoria over the longer term;
- Collaboration with partner agencies, including Victoria Police, public land managers and portfolio Departments;
- Engagement with stakeholders, including hunters, conservation and animal welfare groups; and
- The GMA's operating model and delivery capacity and capability within the current regulatory and funding framework.
The GMA's Board supports all but one of the 27 recommendations contained in the review and has commenced implementing the recommendations that fall within our direct statutory responsibility. We also have a comprehensive plan for the implementation of the remaining recommendations. Many of these recommendations relate to our broader game management responsibilities including deer and quail hunting. Some require the support from Ministers, Departments and partner agencies.
Established in 2014, the GMA relies on support from a broad range of organisations who share responsibility for regulating and enforcing Victoria's game hunting laws. We have developed an extensive range of high quality education and information resources to support our legislative responsibility to promote sustainability and responsibility in game hunting in Victoria. These resources are publicly available on our website at www.gma.vic.gov.au including the internationally recognised Victorian Hunting Manual and our responsibilities under the Government's Sustainable Hunting Action Plan. The GMA is also a partner and strong advocate of the RESPECT: Hunt Responsibly Campaign.
In addition to responding to the broader game hunting recommendations contained in the review, we have introduced several key changes for the upcoming duck season including:
- The introduction of later starting times on the opening Saturday (9am) and Sunday (8am) across the entire State;
- The pass mark for the Waterfowl Identification Test has been increased from 75% to 85% and requires applicants to correctly identify every protected species in the test to obtain their game licence; and
- Regulations have been introduced to formalise the requirement for hunters to immediately retrieve any game ducks they shoot and to salvage at least the breast meat from all ducks.