In Parliament

Adjournment - Duck Hunting Season


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (19:12):

My adjournment matter this evening is to the Minister for Agriculture, and the action I seek is for the Minister to confirm the arrangements for this year’s duck hunting season.

Many in my community mark January in their diaries as it is the month that the state government confirms details of the forthcoming duck hunting season. Last year the government approved a nine-week season and allowed hunters to bag up to five game birds each day.

The Victorian game licence holders survey for 2019 concluded that each licence holder hunted on average 3.3 days over the season and killed a total of 9.6 ducks. With an adult population in this state of 5.175 million, there are 25,000 licence holders. Last season 55 per cent—or 13,500 licence holders—hunted during the season. Those 13 500 licence holders are estimated to have killed 238,666 ducks in the nine-week season, including 45,676 ducks over the opening weekend.

Again, a total of 238,666 ducks.

Over summer the devastating bushfires have had a profound impact on our state, its land and the psyche of our community. That impact was most profoundly felt after the tragic loss of five Victorian lives and 29 lives in neighbouring states. My community has also ached at the catastrophic loss of wildlife caused by the destruction of these fires—an incalculable loss. Modern Victoria has a growing conscience for the natural environment and a genuine expectation that our wildlife will be protected.

We saw that as endless natural habitat burnt over summer. The community urgently called for the government to provide food to animals in fire-affected areas, and they did not accept the government’s initial failure to provide food after saying action was, and I quote, ‘not easy’.

We also saw it again in recent days when the community said it would not tolerate the horror of dead, injured and dying koalas being found at Cape Bridgewater. The community expects strong and swift action there.

In December, before the worst of the summer fires, the Game Management Authority released their Considerations for the 2020 Duck Season report. It found the game duck abundance index is well below the long-term average at the 13th lowest level recorded in 37 years. It also found that waterbird abundance, breeding and habitat availability are showing long-term declines.

Considering recent events, my community expects that the government is ready to justify their decision and the sustainability of the season.

I look forward to the Minister’s response.