ENTHUSIASTS spend nearly $9 million hunting for wild game in the south-west region each year.
The figures are revealed in a new report on the impact of hunting to the Victorian economy.
Colac-Otway Shire is the biggest winner with annual expenditure estimated at $3.1 million a year, mainly due to visits by duck hunters.
Southern Grampians gains $3 million in economic spin-offs as recreational shooters chase pest animals in the shire.
Deer hunters boost Warrnambool’s economy by $1.2 million a year and Corangamite’s by $900,000, including half a million dollars in Timboon alone.
Moyne also benefits with a $700,000 annual injection, the majority of it from duck hunters.
Launching the report yesterday, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the research showed hunting was worth $439 million to the state’s economy.
“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.
Describing it as “the most comprehensive” survey of Victorian hunting, Mr Walsh said it revealed the hobby supported nearly 3500 full-time equivalent jobs both directly and indirectly.
“There are more than 46,000 game licence holders in Victoria now, and 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,” he said.
Mr Walsh said there were opportunities to develop high-value, niche tourism experiences that could attract interstate and international visitors and provide additional expenditure.
The government plans to invest $17.6 million in game management over the next four years.
A new Game Management Authority will come into effect next month and a new action plan will help guide future policy and investment priorities.