By Evelyn Leckie
MACEDON Ranges Shire Council will again write to the Premier of Victoria and several ministers to request the immediate listing of deer as a pest animal in Victoria.
Council’s director of planning and environment Angela Hughes said rising numbers of feral deer have had a negative impact in the Macedon Ranges.
“Deer destroy native vegetation, reduce biodiversity, and cause financial hardship for local agricultural producers,” Ms Hughes said.
“There is also a high risk of human injuries and deaths from deer-vehicle collisions.”
Peri-urban regions like the Yarra Ranges, Cardinia, Nillumbik and Manningham councils have also urged the State Government to consider deer as pests.
Deer species like the Sambar, Fallow and Red Deer occupy the southern part of the shire and across the Macedon Ranges, including the Macedon Regional Park, Lerderderg National Park and Wombat State Forest.
They are currently listed as a protected ‘game’ species under the Wildlife Act rather than a ‘pest’ species.
The State Government has resisted the request, releasing a draft deer management plan in 2018, which opened up 90,000 hectares of the Alpine National Park for deer hunting as a way to tackle population numbers.
The government’s resistance to labelling the species a pest, leads to higher costs that fall on local government.
“Effective control of deer require co-ordination across public and private land, which is resource intensive and beyond council’s capacity without significant support from other levels of government,” Ms Hughes said.