FAIR GAME: Jonas Widjaja from Fair Game Wild Venison says a TAFE Digital short course in game harvesting is helping support the booming wild game industry.
Industry leaders have credited TAFE NSW with helping protect jobs and export revenue by running a unique course that aims to give wild game harvesters the skills and knowledge to keep the industry afloat.
The Statement of Attainment in Game Harvester, offered through TAFE Digital, allows professional shooters from across Australia to gain accreditation to harvest wild game, a rapidly growing export and domestic market.
TAFE Digital is one of only a handful of training organisations nationwide, and the only one in NSW, to offer the course.
Owner of Lismore-based Fair Game Wild Venison, Jonas Widjaja, welcome the TAFE Digital course, saying it played an important role in supporting the nascent industry.
“Game meat harvesters who are qualified to go out in the field and harvest for human consumption play an incredibly important role on many levels," he said.
“Wild deer are pests to the environment and a cost to landholders. Harvesters help reduce that and support a growing industry.
“People are starting to understand that meat which comes from wild animals ticks boxes when it comes to animal welfare, live transport, ethical dispatch and being chemical-free.”
Kangaroos, wild boars and venison are the mainstays of the industry, sold on the domestic and export market for both pet meat and human consumption.
One of many to complete the course is veteran shooter Michael Anderson, who has been running a wild game harvesting business in country Victoria for more than 25 years.
Mr Anderson said despite his extensive experience, the TAFE Digital course ensured he remained industry-compliant.
“There’s so much legislation now and it really helped me keep up to speed with that and ensure my business was compliant,” Mr Anderson said. “I’ve been shooting since I was a teenager but the legislation is always changing and you need to stay on top of it.
“I employ eight contracted shooters and all of them have done the TAFE Digital course and loved it. It’s helping me keep people employed and keep the industry going in a safe, sustainable and hygienic manner.”
The industry was dealt a bitter blow in 2009, when the lucrative Russian market suspended all Australian kangaroo meat exports for more than three years amid concerns about sanitation practices.
TAFE Digital meat safety teacher Shannon Walker said the course focused on ensuring hygiene and sanitation protocols were understood by harvesters.
He said the course was tailored to professional shooters requiring re-accreditation or those keen to enter the industry.
Units include hygiene and sanitation, an overview of the wild game meat industry, operating a game harvesting vehicle, inspecting and tagging wild game, and sharpening knives.
The 12-week course can be completed where and when it suits students through TAFE Digital.
For more information or to enroll, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 13 16 01.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428