Who would you trust?
Nature based tourism. It works.
Shooters claim that $43 million is injected into Victoria's economy as a result of duck shooting (nearly half of their expenditure going to Melbourne metro areas).
There is little to substantiate this, other than a survey back in 2013 of only 990 people. These people were shooters.
Independent think tanks and economists including The Australia Institute (2012) and Dr Kristy Jones PHD Monash University (2016), have seriously questioned claimed benefit from shooting, calling it "wildly overstated" and potentially even negative. This resonates with what we see as residents of rural lake and wetland communities;
"There is little to no positive economic impact on our towns as a result of hunting. In fact, hunting season is to our towns economic detriment."
"The non-monetary benefits of ending duck hunting and the improvement in welfare of the non-duck hunting public, are far greater than the non-monetary losses that hunters would incur from a ban. We estimate this benefit of banning duck hunting at around $60 million per year." (Rod Campbell 2012)
SGS Economics recently reported the dire economic predicament of Victoria's rural towns. Urgent change is needed to arrest this trend.
Tourism contributes more to the Australian economy than agriculture, forestry and fishing (Tourism Satellite Account). It employs more than 1 in 20 Australians, supports 1 in 8 businesses and annual growth in direct tourism GDP (in real value terms i.e. net of inflation) has outperformed the national growth rate for the fourth consecutive year.
Nature based tourism has grown faster than all other forms of tourism combined. Tens of millions of people already spend billions of dollars to appreciate Australia's "awesome" native wildlife.
"Birding" is cited as one of the fastest growing past times in the world. Typically "birders" are affluent, well educated tourists who "stay longer and spend more", in places they visit. Our rural cafes, shops, wineries and B&B's to name a few, could significantly benefit from this.
Victoria is lucky to still have beautiful lakes and wetlands, many home to unique and endangered species of birds and some considered to be of international significance.