Friday, September 29, 2023

Duck hunt for some

Recent stories

A recent inquiry into Victoria’s duck hunting had more than 10,500 submissions, a record for a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

Labor chair Ryan Batchelor said Victoria should end recreational native bird hunting on all public and private land from 2024, claims echoed by the Greens and Animal Justice members on the committee. 

Liberal MP Evan Mulholland was quoted in the Age saying he believed the inquiry was a “stitch-up”. 

Nationals MP Melina Bath, who sat on the inquiry and is the opposition’s spokeswoman for public land use, said the committee was “stacked” and “biased”.

“This inquiry has wasted many thousands of dollars and countless hours of time to put together a biased and flawed report,” she said.

“The Andrews government, together with the crossbench, have used selective ideological evidence to justify its end game – banning duck hunting.”

Many of the claims pushing to end hunting centred around declining numbers, Labor chair Ryan Batchelor said.

“It’s clear from the environmental evidence of long-term decline in native bird populations, largely driven by habitat loss, and a worsening outlook as our climate continues to change.

“Despite written record, recent rainfall — bird populations have not [recovered].”

Survey numbers just across the border in NSW seem counter to these claims – see the table below.

With over 3 million ducks in NSW’s annual duck survey found on channels, I wonder how the Victorian Government wiping out almost 2,000km of earthen channels in the state would affect their habitat.

The report did also recommend transforming hunting reserves into state recreation reserves, and excluding non aboriginals, whilst allowing traditional owners to continue to hunt ducks. Despite all my life believing skin colour, country of origin, religious beliefs or financial status were irrelevant, as Australians, I was wrong. Traditions for some. 

When I was young, the advent of encyclopedias moving to CD-ROMs was fascinating for me. One new feature never before in an encyclopedia was movies. One of my favourites was Dr Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. Etched in my tiny mind was those eternal words carrying empathic wisdom, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

One can dream, I suppose.

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 14 September 2023

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 14 September 2023.


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