Fewer shooters than ever turned out this duck shooting season which ended Sunday, but rural communities were still adversely impacted, says spokesperson for Regional Victorians OTDS Inc. Kerrie Allen.
“There were instances of trespass, early shooting and other issues. Weekends were interrupted from before daylight by what was described as canons at times, upsetting children and animals. Friends stayed away, kayaking, birdwatching and bushwalking were curtailed and people were left feeling helpless knowing their struggling native birds – many unique to Australia- were being killed and maimed in their backyards.”
“There have been no safety risk assessments or public consultation about duck shooting happening at public waterways around our state often in close proximity to residents. What all this is doing to the mental health of people who have to live with it has been overlooked.“
Ms Allen says there’s a better way forward. “Victorian waterways are stunning, home to rare and threatened waterbirds. They should be sanctuaries protecting our declining birdlife but also the amenity of locals who pay significant rates to be in these areas. Businesses in nearby towns would benefit also.”
“Regional Victorians have wisened up to the economic propaganda of duck shooting. It’s time the millions of taxpayer dollars spent in subsidizing this minority activity which the majority oppose, went to roads or hospitals instead.”
“Why do the rates paid by locals living near these waterways not allow them their rights to peaceful enjoyment of their own properties? Why aren’t the majority of the public who love their native birdlife considered in this pandering to less than half of a percent of the population who shoot everyone’s birds?”
“This year these questions are more prominent. Because as the number of duck shooters dwindles, other rural areas are prospering from nature based activities. Lake Tyrrell now sees up to 1000 visitors a day and Winton Wetlands – where they shoot birds with cameras – saw a 44% increase in visitor numbers last year, now at 52,000 – a quarter of Kakadu’s visitation just to one area near Benalla despite drought conditions.”
“For many rural communities across Victoria doing it tough, just a fraction of the visitation enjoyed by Winton or Tyrrell would go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of their towns.”
Recreational duck shooting is banned in WA, QLD, ACT and NSW.
“In our state, policy should not continue to be dictated by a small number of duck shooters.Victorians deserve better. “
Public Release by Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting, Kerrie Allen