A NEW state government report has found hunting is worth $439 million to Victoria's economy.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh released a 116-page Victoria’s Economic Impact of Hunting report at Winghee Swamp near Bendigo on the final day of the 2014 Victorian duck hunting season.
''The Victorian Coalition Government supports a responsibly managed game hunting sector because we recognise, and this new data confirms, that game hunting and hunting of pest animals is significant within the state economy and it is important to regional communities,” Mr Walsh said.
''This is the most comprehensive survey ever of Victorian hunting and it reveals the activity had a total economic impact of $439 million in 2013 and supported almost 3500 full time equivalent jobs directly and indirectly across Victoria.
The report found the total hunting expenditure in Loddon Mallee was $54.1 million.
The hunting of pest animals generated $28.8 million for the Loddon Mallee north/south region.
Duck hunters injected $19.2 million into the region, with deer hunters spending $3.1 million and quail hunters $2.9 million.
The report found pest animal hunting generated 30 full-time jobs in Greater Bendigo, with 28 in the Macedon Ranges and 19 in Campaspe.
Quail hunting was responsible for nine full-time jobs in Greater Bendigo and two in Campaspe.
Duck hunting generated 45 full-time jobs in Greater Bendigo with 11 in Loddon, 10 in Swan Hill and eight in Campaspe.
Deer hunting was responsible for six full-time jobs in Bendigo.
The report shows the number of days spent hunting per individual fell from 4.5 to 3.7 for duck, 14.5 to 0.8 for quail and from 6.8 to 6.4 for deer.
Mr Walsh said there were more than 46,000 game licence holders in Victoria.
''They are contributing to local economies across the state as they buy hunting and camping equipment, food, fuel, and other supplies related to their pursuits.
''Forty per cent of this spending occurs in Melbourne and 60 per cent throughout regional Victoria. That might surprise some people, but 51 per cent of licenced game hunters live in Melbourne or the wider Port Phillip Bay region.''
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government had demonstrated clear commitment to improving game management and hunting opportunities.
''The Victorian Government will invest $17.6 into game management over the next four years and the new Game Management Authority, an election commitment from the Coalition, comes into effect on July 1,” Mr Walsh said.
''The Victorian Game Management Action Plan is also close to completion following significant stakeholder consultation, and this plan will help guide future policy and investment priorities, as well as promote responsible hunting practices.
''The Victorian Coalition Government values the significant social and cultural benefits game hunting provides to our state, and 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.