The Victorian government has rejected a recommendation to consider giving recreational hunters access to semi-automatic firearms.
A report following the inquiry into the control of invasive animals earlier this year handed down a series of recommendations, including that the government and Victoria Police consult about the possibility of legalising category C and D firearms for hunting, including semi‑automatic rifles and shotguns and pump‑action shotguns.
It was part of an examination of how to deal with control of pest such as deer in areas including the Alpine National Park.
The government response tabled in Parliament supported most of the recommendations, either in full or in principle, but not a relaxing of weapons laws.
“The Victorian government does not support recreational hunters having access to category C and D firearms. This is in line with the National Firearms Agreement,” the report stated.
It also rejected a recommendation to consider allowing hunters to use silencers on their guns.
“Victoria Police does not support the use of noise suppressors (silencers) by recreational hunters unless genuine need and reason can be demonstrated by an applicant – in general terms, a recreational hunter would not meet the requirements,” the report stated.
Victoria Police does not support the use of noise suppressors (silencers) by recreational hunters.Victorian government
Comments from deer hunters after The Border Mail reported the recommendations in June argued the use of higher-calibre rifles was more humane because larger animals required more power to kill and a semi-automatic weapon could ensure a quick follow-up shot if the first failed.
The Victorian government also committed to making the results of the Alpine National Park deer management trial publicly available once completed.
The trial is is exploring whether ground shooting can reduce the impacts of deer on threatened alpine peatland communities and the most efficient way to introduce ground shooting.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she fully supported the recommendation to declare feral cats as a pest.
“The declaration will enable the humane, efficient and effective control of feral cats in areas of high biodiversity value on public land,” she said.