Monday 11th May, the Premier announced easing restrictions for participation in recreational activities if "integral to health and wellbeing".
As a result, duck shooters are allowed to pursue their unpopular choice of recreation in public areas from the morning of Wednesday 13th May until June 8.
The health and wellbeing of others adversely impacted has been totally disregarded.
Along with the majority of Victorians according to the polls, RVOTDS are deeply disappointed with the Premier's allowing of this activity.
The lack of monitoring at waterways across the state –(authorities have been unable even to map them) – invites flouting of laws including social distancing laws, a risk our vulnerable rural communities’ health systems don’t need.
And, as happens every bird shooting season, the gunfire of unmonitored recreational bird shooters will shatter the lives of families living in close proximity; families who pay thousands of dollars in rates to live where they do.
Children will be upset and frightened. Animals will be spooked. Pellets will land on roofs. Working from home will be disrupted. Hundreds, likely thousands of birds, will suffer in inhumane ways, one of the main reasons other states have long banned this pastime. And protected species will be in the line of fire.
The tourism our rural communities are desperate for, will be hampered by shooters in camouflage nearby, their gunfire piercing the air and animals falling dead and wounded from the skies.
The growing numbers of people interested in using these public areas for kayaking, birdwatching, boating or bushwalking (#8 on Australia's Top 20 Sports - hunting didn't rate) - and their safety, have been overlooked.
With article after article being published about the appalling decline of biodiversity in Victoria, what has also been overlooked is the impact of shooting bird populations struggling at record low numbers.
Rural communities - in fact the majority of Victorians’ opposed to this activity - have been dismissed in favour of a minority– less than half of one percent of the population who choose to shoot birds for fun.
Will the Premier at least be in attendance of duck shooting to witness what he condones, or is he content to simply call the shots from his city swivel chair, hundreds of kilometres away from the families this decision impacts?
There’s a better way for our waterways.