Does duck shooting go with tourism?
We could do an experiment at Lake Daylesford, Weeroona or Wendouree, but thankfully there is no need.
The studies have been done.
Research by The Australia Institute in 2012, found over 50% of holiday makers would avoid areas where duck shooting was occurring.
This research was conducted before the explosion in popularity of nature based activities like bushwalking, visits to nature parks and indigenous culture sites (Tourism Research Australia 2018). Hence the number of those deterred by duck shooting would likely be higher now.
To most, it would seem logical, that largely unmonitored shooting, the sound of frequent gunfire shattering the peace, the sight of dead and maimed birds falling from the sky, is not conducive to other more popular nature- based activities occurring in the same vicinity.
Sadly, locals and local tour operators know, the issue persists long past the end of the three month shooting season. Many are left with rubbish including broken bottles, plastic ammunition cartridges, animal body parts, human faeces and terrified birdlife, none of which are all that attractive to tourists which our small rural towns desperately need.
Conversely, nature based tourism brings over $40 billion to other parts of Australia, with the number set to grow to $150 billion in just over ten years.
With our stunning wetland areas rich in indigenous culture and home to rare and threatened species of birds, our opportunity is clear, as currently they sit largely undiscovered around some of the most depressed areas in the country, ready to be protected and promoted for everyone's benefit.
With rural Victorian towns desperate for a financial lifeline and nature based activities pouring jobs and money elsewhere, it's time to make it fair for all Victorians.
There's a better way for our beautiful rural waterways.
Nature-based tourism. It works.
Recreational duck shooting is banned in NSW, QLD, ACT and WA due to cruelty and a preference for ecotourism. In Victoria, less than 0.4 percent of the population shoot our native waterbirds (GMA license statistics ) and only 2 percent of the 0.4 percent would not readily switch to an alternate activity (The Australia Institute). Over 87% of Victorians want duck shooting banned (Morgan Poll).
Picture Lake Daylesford where cafes, restaurants, bookshops, walking tracks and waterbirds, all add to the highly successful booming tourist attraction in Central Victoria.