Wombats can no longer be killed without a permit anywhere in Victoria after the state government fixed a legal loophole that left them open to being hunted for sport.
The amendment to the Wildlife Act 1975 came into effect on Thursday, officially revoking an outdated law that declared wombats unprotected in some parts of the state.
It follows a state government inquiry into wombat protection laws that was triggered by public outrage after The New Daily revealed wealthy international tourists were being invited to a Murrindindi farm in northern Victoria to hunt the animals.
I know a lot of you were concerned last year when it was revealed wombats were being hunted by wealthy tourists at a…
The farm is owned by a Chinese businessman and partner of Crown casino at the centre of an explosive Nine investigation into links between casinos and organised crime.
Revelations that wombats were being offered as hunting targets for foreign tourists exposed a “confusing” loophole in the Wildlife Act that meant the animals were not protected in 193 parishes in Victoria.
A number of politicians, including Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Victorian MP Andy Meddick, raised the issue of wombat killing laws in Parliament, demanding the government take action to protect them.
More than 200,000 people signed a petition calling on the Victorian government to protect the animals statewide.
In response to public outrage, the Environment Department promised to review the state’s wombat killing laws.
In December last year, the department confirmed it had completed its review, but gave very few details about what action it would take to stop wombat killings.
On Thursday, the Victorian Government overturned the decades-old legal loophole.