Victorian Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Daniel Young is calling on the Victorian government to scrap the Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permit system for landholders.
Mr Young said there was no point putting farmers through the lengthy, inefficient process, simply for the sake of bureaucracy.
In 2017, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) conducted Victoria’s first state-wide kangaroo population survey, and he suggested continuing this could be an adequate alternative.
“If the government could determine what the population is, as well as what a suitable harvest amount would be to keep a controlled number, that would mean we could just get rid of permits altogether, and instead monitor numbers,” he said.
“If the numbers drop dramatically and it becomes a problem, then we can reassess.”
He said a major shake-up was necessary, as he had dealt with countless complaints from landholders throughout the state, who were dissatisfied with the current system.
“The processing time is extraordinarily long on something that needs to be dealt with immediately, and inspectors are often coming out when the problem isn’t there, so are denying applications without proper consideration,” he said.
Nationals MP Tim Bull said in his East Gippsland electorate, the drought was getting more dire with each day that passed, so ACTW permit approvals were paramount.
“If you have a crop coming through, ducks can decimate it in up to 48 hours, sometimes overnight, and some farmers are waiting weeks to hear back [about their applications],” Mr Bull said.
He said the major problem was DELWP’s requirement for on-farm inspections with each application.
“I think there’s room for a bit more common sense in this approach,” he said.
“If a farmer has been getting permits for the last 10 years, you’d know they’ve been having problems annually and that it’s fair dinkum.
“My view is, do inspections where permits are new or there’s no consistent history, but if there is a history of someone doing the right thing year-on-year, then there should be no need.”
He said the government could fix the problem overnight by putting more resources into the region.
“For goodness sake, realise we’re in a drought and fast-track these applications through the system,” he said.
Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh said the lack of service provided by the DELWP was “not good enough”.
“The DELWP is extremely slow at issuing permits, taking literally weeks to turn around applications,” Mr Walsh said.
“The department is meant to be there to service the public of Victoria and that lack of service is unacceptable.”
He said current drought conditions were making the situation “soul destroying” for farmers.
“It is difficult enough sourcing feed for livestock to keep them alive through the drought, let alone getting up in the morning and seeing hundreds of kangaroos eating their limited feed,” he said.
He believed there were genuine concerns that the permits were being deliberately held-up because the department did not want them issued.
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