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'TIL WE MEAT AGAIN: TAFE Digital game harvesting teacher Shannon Walker says a long-running TAFE NSW course is helping create jobs and reduce the scourge of on-farm feral pests.
A TAFE NSW graduate has a unique new plan in his sights that could create hundreds of new jobs and help address the environmental and economic scourge of feral pests across regional NSW.
Australian Feral Animal Control and Management Services founder Rob Gallina, who completed an online Statement of Attainment in Game Harvester with TAFE Digital, is on the brink of opening Australia’s first mobile processing plant for feral pests.
Wild dogs alone are estimated to cost Australian farmers $66.3 million a year while the damage to agriculture by feral pigs is estimated at more than $100 million.
Mr Gallina said he pursued a career in eradicating feral animals after witnessing the environment and economic devastation caused by wild animals such as kangaroos, pigs, deer, and rabbits on friends’ farms.
His company is now one of the largest of its kind in Australia and Mr Gallina is now close to securing funding for a mobile processing plant for game meat, which would allow his company to process hundreds of animal carcasses a day for pet food and human consumption.
“We’re wasting up to three tonnes of roo, pig, and deer meat each night because there just aren’t enough game meat processing plants around,” he said. “Ultimately, I want to establish a couple of these plants in each state, with each facility employing up to 30 or 40 shooters.
“This will not just create jobs but give farmers a return for animals being harvested on their properties while helping the environment.”
The NSW Food Authority requires all game harvesters to be licensed and complete a Statement of Attainment in Game Harvester. TAFE NSW is the only NSW RTO to offer this course, which is accessible online when, where and how it suits students to study.
TAFE NSW teacher and butcher-by-trade, Shannon Walker, said the course was one of the oldest running TAFE NSW courses, first offered more than a century ago to train the iconic Sydney “rabbiters”.
“Much of the game meat processed goes to pet food but there is a growing market for restaurants and supermarkets, especially with roo meat,” Mr Walker said.
“The course is ideally suited to those wanting to harvest for a profession but recently we’ve seen a lot of farmers do the course to supplement their income, especially during the drought.”
He said students are sent a study resource pack and work closely with teachers to complete the course. Students then go out into the field with a licensed harvester who signs off on their competency.
Mr Gallina said the course equips students with the practical skills and experience that they need to enter the industry.
“Shannon is one of the most informed people you will meet in this field and he really simplifies the course, ensuring students have everything they need to start working in a growing industry,” he said.
To find out more about studying game harvesting online with TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.