The Andrews Labor Government will continue to strengthen the regulation of commercial horse training at beaches along the Belfast Coast, despite the Greens' bewildering decision this week to drag out the introduction of licences for trainers.
Belfast Coastal Reserve, which encompasses a stretch of coast between Port Fairy and Warrnambool, has recently seen an increase in horse training in the area, raising issues about public safety, cultural heritage and the environment, particularly the welfare of the threatened Hooded Plover.
Earlier this week the Greens lodged a motion in Parliament to disallow the introduction of the licensing to control the use of the reserve for commercial horse training. Unfortunately, this will result in a delay in granting licences until the matter is resolved when Parliament resumes in February 2017.
While this reckless action shows that the Greens have no interest in solving this complex issue, we welcome the decision of the Warrnambool Racing Club to abide by the spirit of the licences until they are introduced.
The Labor Government will continue to push forward to introduce a licensing system and compliance regime to balance the competing needs of the environment, the racing industry and the local community.
Importantly, there is no change to the protection of the nesting sites of the hooded plover. Nesting sites will remain protected and patrols by Parks Victoria will continue as a priority.
We encourage all relevant parties to continue to treat each other in a respectful manner over the coming months.
Reviewed 19 August 2020