Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (19:37): (106) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Outdoor Recreation in the other place. The action I seek from the minister is that she respond in writing and in doing so outline any of the government’s modelling on the economic impacts of a reduced duck season for 2023 to a five-week period. In doing so, would she also include in that the LGAs of Baw Baw, Wellington, Latrobe City Council and East Gippsland in the Eastern Victoria Region and include in that what the government intends to do in relation to supporting the livelihoods of those small business operators, such as camping shops, hunting supply shops and others affected by a downturn in another season of recreational hunting for ducks.
I raised in the debate that we had earlier in relation to the inquiry into hunting the gentleman whose name is Steve Asmussen. Steve is a lovely, wonderful family person who owns the Aussie Disposals in Traralgon. He was quite at his wits’ end. As a small business proprietor he works six days a week. He does employ and certainly wants to continue employing staff, whether it be on a casual or a permanent basis. But if these sorts of reduced hunting seasons are going to continue – he indents, he forward purchases a vast range of equipment in terms of waders and boots and clothing and decoys and ammunition and carry bags and camping gear of all sorts – he said to me that he feels it is somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 that he will lose in terms of the stock that is sitting on his shelf that will not be sold. He cannot pivot and order when the announcement comes out, and it is absolutely gut-wrenching for these sorts of small business people. And indeed he said:
We’ve been through such a lot in the last 3 years with COVID and being locked down.
He has said:
The whole fraternity does not go away just to hunt and take those ducks away for table. We do this as a mental health support, to be with our friends and family, to be in nature.
The pressure of having to work six days a week at least, because he will not be able to have those employees because of the $20,000 to $30,000 downfall – I would like to minister to explain what the government is actually going to do to support these small businesses.