Dan’s duck decision hurts small business

The Andrews Government’s decision to restrict duck opening is significantly impacting Gippsland small businesses.

With opening season only days away, local small businesses have borne the financial brunt of Labor’s late decision to drastically shorten duck season and restrict bag limits.

As indicated by the Game Management Authority (GMA) report into abundance estimates for game ducks, Victorian native duck numbers are healthy after the La Nina weather system created favourable breeding conditions along the eastern seaboard.

Advocating on behalf of concerned traders at the beginning of March, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath asked the Andrews Government in state parliament to outline what, if any work had been done to support affected businesses forced to cop another reduced season.

Ms Bath said the Andrews Government has failed to respond to my question after six weeks, refusing to release any economic modelling on a restricted duck season.

“Small business owners are at their wits end with Labor’s political games – Victoria hasn’t seen a full duck season since 2018.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of the positive conservation outcomes by recreational hunting groups, it’s clear our local communities and businesses are not a consideration of the Andrews Labor Government.

“Forecasting stock requirements are a nightmare for our outdoor recreation stores – stock for hunting and camping must be ordered months in advance.

“Labor has zero regard to the planning and the overheads of small business each time it plays politics and ignores sound advice from the GMA regarding seasonal hunting arrangements.

“Steve Asmussen, owner of Aussie Disposals in Traralgon outlined to me the financial impact on his business will be in the vicinity of $20,000 in lost revenue and stranded stock.

“Stock ordered in advance will sit on the shelf as a liability – it’s gut wrenching for these businesses as they cannot return stock or repurpose supplies.”

Ms Bath said duck season is a popular and sustainable recreational past time that injects millions of dollars into the Gippsland economy, across the state hunting generates a whopping $356 million into the regional economy.

“Many local small businesses rely on the income derived through recreational hunting – our camping and outdoor stores, fuel stores, butchers, bakers all bring thousands of people into our regional areas.

“Duck season is much more than hunting – for generations many families have participated together, enjoying spending time in the great outdoors.

“The Andrews Government must explain what the government is actually going to do to support our small businesses impacted by its’ decisions.”