Daniel Young has his sights set on a major goal as Victorians head towards November’s state election.
The Shooters, Fishers and Farming Party’s Member for Northern Victoria said national parks are high on his agenda.
Juggling a love-hate relationship with the Nationals and determined to try and connect the Labor Party with regional Victoria, Mr Young said responding to the government’s stance on national parks and animal rights was urgent business.
With his electoral office in Seymour’s Wallis St and living in Gisborne, it comes as no surprise to find he enjoys shooting and duck hunting in his downtime.
He said he made the most of his time at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo on the weekend by talking to people and checking out cattle.
‘‘It’s definitely good for the local area — it’s one of those things which put Seymour on the map a little bit more,” he said.
At the same time Mr Young said his party is beginning to stamp its mark on Victoria’s political map as well.
‘‘We’re really starting to establish ourselves in the southern part of the country,’’ he said.
‘‘The Andrews Government just has no idea what’s going on in regional areas, they’re just not in touch with country people at all.
‘‘Which is why we need to better manage the national parks we’ve got, before we go creating more of them.
‘‘All they are is an announcement for the government to play to inner-city voters, but the reality is people who live out in the bush have to put up with them as far as the problems they cause with pests and fire danger.’’
But Mr Young’s gripes with the Victorian Government don’t end there.
He also wants to influence the political conversation surrounding animal rights; something he thinks has become too marginalised by radicals.
‘‘Everyone agrees animal welfare is important and it’s a big aspect of what we do as far as hunting and fishing ... but this government is being sucked into the animal rights movement, which is a very different kettle of fish,’’ he said.
‘‘When you have a Minister talking about animal sentience, recognising that and bestowing rights upon animals, it’s a very scary path to go down — where do we stop?
‘‘So we’ll be making sure it doesn’t play towards what extremists are saying in that space, and that we look after the rights of farmers, as well as people who hunt and fish.’’
On the other side of the political spectrum, Mr Young said the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has a complicated relationship with the Nationals.
Despite recognising shared policy objectives as well as DNA, such as when the two parties took a stand against the Victorian Government’s changes to the Country Fire Authority, Mr Young said the fact his party will never form government marks a major point of difference.
‘‘They’re very good in opposition because they’ve got a bit more freedom and they can make all the promises they want, but they struggle in government when they’re beholden to the Liberal Party,’’ he said.
‘‘If you step aside from the policy platforms, which are very similar ... we are going into this election without the approach of wanting to be in government.
‘‘We just want to have enough of a voice in the House to be able to hold them accountable.
‘‘We never have to sell out on something we believe in, because we’re never going to form part of the government.’’