Victoria's warzone wastelands
Following last week’s update, https://www.regionalvictoriansotds.com/post-1/week-1-wrap-from-victoria-s-war-zones it's now two weeks since recreational bird shooting was allowed to commence at public waterways around Victoria, often in close proximity to residents.
Still no safety risk assessments or social/economic impacts studies have been conducted as to the impacts of unmonitored shooting on the community.
This week was a relatively quiet one in terms of what rural residents typically suffer during duck season, testament to the fact that bird shooting is a dying activity.
Less than half of one percent of the population still shoot birds, a percentage that is declining.
Still, for a minority group, their impacts on the rest of the community including residents and potential tourists are significant.
For example, south of the state, residents were again woken to gunfire before daylight on the weekend.
In northern Victoria, Police were called more than once and duck shooters asked to move on from areas near homes which according to hunting maps, they shouldn’t be hunting at.
Elsewhere, a boat load of duck shooters commenced firing near a boarding kennel sending animals into distress, not far from a main town.
It’s one thing for residents to be subjected to gunfire from before daylight upsetting children, stock and pets, but another for businesses reliant on tourism to survive.
Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Victoria is the hardest hit by the Corona pandemic of all states, with the number of employees on the payroll in the state down by 8.4% since mid-March.
Government estimates show regional Victoria is set to lose $3.8 billion in lost tourism for the first half of this year.
Studies including by The Australia Institute, show the majority of potential visitors will avoid duck shooting areas.
Who could blame them?
The blast of gunfire piercing the air, dead and maimed birds falling from the skies, otherwise beautiful waterways littered with ammunition cartridges, beer cans and bird body parts, is not generally associated with a nice afternoon out.
Most people would take their family - and their wallets - somewhere else.
With many of our rural communities dependent on tourism to survive, the last thing we need is duck shooting deterring the economic relief we are desperate for.
Where's the Premier?
Daniel Andrews reportedly committed to shut the season down if shooters were non-compliant with rules.
Yet here we are going into week three, despite numerous instances of flouting of social distancing laws, even police arrests for duck shooters snorting coke planning to then shoot their guns in public areas and get into their cars on our regional roads.
His commitment should be honoured as priority.