“Excessive and unwarranted” limitations on the 2021 duck season are another missed opportunity to support regional Victorian communities to recover from the impacts of COVID shutdowns.
The Labor Government’s decision to reduce the season, which starts today, to just 20 days is a deliberate attempt to put another nail in the coffin of legal, legitimate recreational activities in regional Victoria.
A report recently found “the justification masquerades as a science-based decision, when in reality it is a politically expedient decision, aimed at legitimising the views of anti-hunting and animal rights groups, at the expense of hunters”.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the reduced season was a kick in the guts to small businesses and communities in desperate need of an economic boost.
“Opening the season mid-week, with reduced days and for a total of just three weeks is a far cry from the legislated 87 days in a full season,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Labor Government deliberately ignored scientific evidence that shows good rainfall has supported sustainable waterbird populations.
“The Minister even spent months hiding the results of the department’s aerial surveys because the findings supported an increased bag limit.
“Hunters are right to fear the Labor Government is trying to regulate them out of existence in an effort to win over inner-city voters.”
Hunting generates $356 million for our state, supports thousands of jobs – many of them in rural and regional communities – and brings families out to country areas for a weekend away. But Labor’s limited season will gut this economic boost.
Speaking on the reduced season, Field and Game CEO Dean O’Hara said: “I think the majority of people won’t go, which is exactly what the government wants”.
Mr Walsh said Labor was deliberately strangling the season so it could build a case against Victorian hunters.
“Ridiculously low bag limits and opening hours will discourage many people from making the trip out to our regional communities,” Mr Walsh said.
“I’m urging hunters to back our regional communities by still making the trip out for a weekend away with the family.
“Uncertainty generated by Labor’s knee-jerk lockdowns is cutting at the heart of small business in our state.
“Labor’s stealth attempt to regulate duck hunting out of existence further damages recovery efforts for our cafes, pubs and accommodation providers.”