It's the 2022 showdown and whose guns are blazing?
An Alliance of 70 Organisations Hits The Press With Adverts!
In ever increasing numbers, the voices of multiple First Nations Clans, businesses, unions, environment and wildlife groups, are shouting out in support of regional Victorians’ plea for a ceasefire on the gunning down of native ducks.
Half page ads now running in major papers, show an alliance of more than 60 organisations, representing hundreds of thousands of Victorians, expecting elected members of parliament to heed their citizens and legislate an end to the annual recreational shooting of Australia’s native waterbirds – many species unique to our country.
And here’s why.
Each year, the Victorian government allows thousands of normally peaceful public waterways to become blood baths for up to three months, due to what is essentially a hobby for a small minority and no longer acceptable to most.
From an indigenous peoples’ perspective, many areas used for shooting are of significant cultural heritage. Recreational native waterbird shooting is not compatible to numerous First Nations Clans’ cultural aspirations. To some, duck species may be a sacred cultural totem.
Known as duck hunting to some people, the practice is detrimental to many others, including those living nearby who call it by a different name – a living hell.
Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc (RVOTDS), the group co-ordinating the ads, said “to witness living wildlife is a major reason tourists are drawn to the regions whilst the violence of shotguns and the cruelty inflicted on dwindling bird populations turns people away – it’s well known in the tourism industry, an unacceptable loss to regional economies”.
Sounding alarm bells, the 39th annual Eastern Australia Waterbird Survey, which is the largest most long term dataset available regarding waterbird indices, shows waterbirds have declined up to 90% in just four decades. “Game” bird numbers dropped by over half (58%) from just the previous year and there is little if any breeding despite the La Nina effect and accompanying rain.
The group was one of several stakeholders who made a submission to Game Management Authority on Thursday, calling for a close of the 2022 recreational shooting season of native duck and stubble quail.
Recreational duck shooting is banned in QLD, ACT, NSW and WA. In Victoria, less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks while professional polls have repeatedly shown most Victorians – particularly regional – want the activity banned.
In 2021, Victoria was the only state to allow recreational shooting of native stubble quail.
Half page ads are running in major newspapers this week. *Note not all alliance organisations could be listed due to limited space.
By RVOTDS: “With our health system at breaking point, we can think of better ways for government to spend millions of taxpayer dollars, than promoting this unpopular minority choice of recreation.”
By Paul Haw Yung Balug Keeping Place and Wetland Tours: “It’s more than just shooting waterbirds, it’s the destruction of aboriginal cooking mounds by (duck shooters) camping on them, burying rubbish, burning scarred trees at their campfires and loss of habitat around the wetland. It’s sad to see protected species of birds floating to the water’s edge”.
Several studies including by The Australia Institute, “Out for a Duck”, as well as UComms polls in early 2021, show most holiday makers avoid shooting areas.
The same polls show the strongest support for a duck shooting ban came from regional areas.