top of page

Dear Friends,

Sadly, Labor has failed our desperately low numbers of native waterbirds - many unique to our country - as well as our financially struggling Victorian rural communities (SGS Economics 2018 ), in allowing a further native waterbird shooting season in 2019.

Our pitifully low numbers of birds include those that fled from QLD and NSW seeking refuge from crippling drought conditions. On Victorian waterways (those still with some water), these birds will be sitting ducks for shooters.

Some season modifications have been imposed but are still grossly inadequate to counter issues including that the majority of waterways where shooting occurs will not be monitored.

Regional Victorians are deeply disappointed in the Labor Government's decision. Independent scientific evidence has been brushed aside, as have the adverse impacts to rural families.

No safety risk assessments or social/economic impact studies have been done regarding unmonitored shooting at thousands of public waterways around the state - often in close proximity to residents.

Authorities can't say where the thousands of waterways are – so how can they possibly hope to monitor them or know the impacts to people or birdlife including protected species?

This is an unacceptable risk to residents, the public and our birdlife, being taken in favour of less than 0.4% of people who are licensed to shoot our native waterbirds, (a figure which has only declined over the years). Remarkably, almost half of those with licences are actually inactive: 2 in every 1,000 Victorians went duck shooting last year.[1]

It's not what we had hoped from a government supposedly committed to delivering for all Victorians, concerned for animal welfare, and valuing our unique wildlife.

But it gets worse.

More millions of taxpayer dollars have been promised to maintain a minority activity that most voters oppose.

Ultimately, the government knows this is not a popular activity, neither is it humane or sustainable. They have seen the independent science reports. They know it's impossible to monitor across the state.

Yet they still choose to hide behind a so-called "independent" regulator's recommendations. How many duck shooters work for this independent regulator?

Many Victorians would want to know why a relative handful of duck shooters has such sway over government.

Victorian taxpayers, the majority of whom deeply oppose this activity , have a right to know why more of their hard earned dollars are being spent subsidising a minority activity - dollars which could go towards public roads or hospitals, or establishment of nature based tourism which is flourishing elsewhere, bringing jobs and cash with it.

Many MPs have never experienced duck shooting in the raw. This season, rural Victorians challenge MPs to come and experience what we are forced to live and work with – the ‘warzone’ environment of duck shooting.

There is a real and damaging impact on rural families and businesses. Shooting stresses animals, children, families and tourists.

Shooters and some MPs often quote exaggerated figures for the supposed economic benefits of duck shooting. These claims are based on a survey of shooters who estimated their own expenditure, up to 12 months earlier. No one checked the accuracy of their responses. But what about the economic costs of duck shooting? In particular, there are significant losses to the tourism business due to duck shooting, according to independent economists (The Australia Institute). [2]

A ‘modified’ season solves none of these concerns and hundreds of thousands of native waterbirds will still be sacrificed.

Our hearts break for our precious native waterbirds who will lose their lives, for the estimated one in four suffering horrific slow painful deaths, and for the families around Victorian waterways for what they are about to go through yet again.

We appeal to the Premier to enact an urgent moratorium, to allow bird numbers the chance to recover and to ensure appropriate social/economic impact studies are done.

At the very least, only a very limited number of waterways if any, should be allowed for shooting – those which can be monitored all season. In that way, there would be some hope of enforcing hunting laws and penalising shooters who kill protected species, adopt cruel practices and litter the landscape. It would also allow our struggling native waterbirds some hope of refuge. As with some deer hunting, a ballot system could be used to decide which duck shooters are permitted to attend these specified waterways.

No outdoor shooting range operates without strict monitoring at all times, and there is good reason for this. Why should duck shooting be any different?

[1]GMA’s Considerations for the 2019 duck season, p34

[2]See page 2, Out for a duck:an analysis of the economics of duck hunting in Victoria, Australia Institute 2012.

Picture Australian Wood-duck, unique to Australia, forms life long pairs, courtesy Eleanor Dilley.

bottom of page