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Let's talk about sport baby.

Let's talk about healthy people and economies.

Swimming is the most popular activity in Australia enjoyed by 14.4 percent of the population; (circa 3,000,000) men, women and children. Cycling second, at 10.8 percent. Bushwalking/hiking at 5 percent, is also in the top 10 (Roy Morgan 2014).

But wait for it. Australia hosted around 30 million domestic nature based tourists in 2014, a number which had consistently increased at 5 percent each year (overnight visitors).

Nature based tourism has steadily grown the last 5 years, faster than all other tourism combined, (Tourism Transport Forum 2017).

So should these popular family activities be hindered by unpopular, even dangerous ones?

Those who still shoot our native waterbirds, "duck shooters", represent less than 0.4% of the Victorian population (and are 98.5% male; GMA license statistics). Yet for three months of the year, (including Queens Birthday weekend, term 1 school holidays and Easter), our stunning waterways around Victoria are the battlefields of these men with guns, striking fear in residents, sending gunshot over homes and keeping other would be recreational users and tourists away.

Sadly, these waterways would otherwise lend themselves perfectly to popular activities including the lucrative nature based tourism trend.

Unsurprisingly, at least 50% of tourists choose to stay away from waterways where shooting takes place (Rod Campbell 2012).

Risk assessments carried out in other states (who don't allow recreational duck shooting) which report the risk of injury or death to the public as too great, justify their caution.

It's the public, particularly rural communities, who are the losers.

A recent study conservatively estimates nature based activities are worth $7.4 billion in Victoria, contributing a whopping $6.2 billon to the Victorian economy and 71,000 jobs. The "recreational benefits" are $455 million and $265 million in avoided costs to the health care system (Marsden Jacobs 2016).

We believe this goes a long way to bumping off a small claimed (and independently refuted) economic benefit from duck shooting*, perhaps an activity which should be bumped off anyway due to public safety concerns and proven cruelty, both most would argue, totally unacceptable in a modern society.

By banning recreational duck shooting like many other states have done, not only can we keep Victorians safe, we can bring in the big bucks via nature tourism.

Let's get it done.

*Claims of economic benefit from duck shooting are based on a survey of 990 shooters in 2013 ("Estimating the economic impacts of hunting n Victoria") The paper claimed only $43 million benefit from recreational duck shooting to the entire state of Victoria, nearly half going to Melbourne metro while many rural areas received little if any. Indpendent economists have refuted claimed benefit from duck shooting, calling it wildly overstated, with any net benefit possibly even negative.

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