Gippsland South The Nationals Danny O'Brien economy Hunters Duck Hunting duck seaon Gippsland hunters evidence

Government evidence backs duck season call

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called on the Andrews Labor Government to open duck season immediately after new government evidence revealed healthy numbers of ducks in Victoria.

The Game Management Authority (GMA) last week released the results of a pilot aerial survey used to estimate the total number of game ducks in Victoria during November 2020.

“Alongside the release of the survey results, which indicated an estimated total population of almost 2.5 million game ducks, we saw an immediate decision to increase the bag limit from two to five.

“While this is a small win that might entice hunters to travel to our region and spend hard-earned dollars with our local traders, the fact we still only have a 20-day season, rather than the usual three months, is wrong.”

Mr O’Brien said the Andrews Labor Government had made a political decision in February when it announced that the 2021 duck season would be limited to 20 days and just two birds per day.

“I said at the time that this decision flew in the face of evidence right around South Eastern Australia indicating no particular threat to the duck population,” Mr O’Brien said.

“After increasing pressure on the Agriculture Minister to release the evidence this decision was based on, we are now seeing a backflip as that evidence comes to light. Even University of NSW waterbird expert, Professor Richard Kingsford said last week that the overwhelming threat to duck numbers was not hunting, but loss of water in wetlands and rivers.

“With healthy duck numbers now acknowledged by the Government, there’s no reason the season couldn’t start immediately.

“Duck season brings millions of dollars to our region, but when the Government continues to ignore science and bows to a loud but small group of activists, it’s hunters and our local economy who pay the price.”

Mr O’Brien said he would continue to advocate for Gippsland hunters who have been unfairly targeted by the Andrews Labor Government.

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