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Labor snubs locals on Snake Island hunting

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has criticized the Melbourne Labor Government for its failure to consult the local community and stakeholders before approving hog deer hunting on Snake Island.

Mr O’Brien said it was astounding that Labor had approved a two year trial of a hog deer hunting ballot without speaking to key local stakeholders such as the Snake Island Cattlemen’s Association and local tourism operators.

“Labor has come out of the blue and announced hunting will be allowed without speaking to anyone locally on this. This has been a contentious issue for many years now and the announcement late yesterday was a complete surprise to those opposed to hunting on the island.

“This is typical of Daniel Andrews’ arrogant approach to governing. Just as we’ve seen him ride roughshod over CFA volunteers, now he has disregarded the views of the local community on this important issue.”

Mr O’Brien said The Nationals in Government had conducted a thorough public consultation process to consider this issue in 2012 before announcing in early 2013 there would be no hunting.

“The former government held a public meeting in Port Welshpool and took submissions from all sides of the debate before making a decision against a trial based on concerns about the impact on tourism and recreational activities in and around the island.

“Labor has considered no such local voices in making this decision.  Labor’s Harriet Shing is missing in action when it comes to listening to Gippsland locals.”

Mr O’Brien said he was a strong supporter of hunting activity generally and supported the rights of law-abiding hunters but was concerned that Labor did not even give locals opposed to hunting on Snake island the opportunity to have their say.

“How can anyone trust Labor to consult with stakeholders to implement this decision when they weren’t even contacted about it in the first place?” Mr O’Brien concluded.

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