Duck Season must go ahead for Gippsland

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to confirm the 2020 duck season.

“Recreational shooters are incredibly important to Gippsland’s regional economy and it is imperative the season goes ahead,” Ms Bath said.

“Gippsland tourism has experienced an unprecedented downturn as a result of bushfire – we don’t need Labor’s political games.

“Recreational duck hunting is a sustainable and highly popular pastime, delivering an array of regional economic and social benefits.

“Confirmation of the 2020 duck hunting season is long overdue.”

Ms Bath has written to the Minister for Agriculture calling for an immediate confirmation of the 2020 duck season.

“There is substantial concern across Gippsland that Labor will cancel duck season which would be a disastrous blow to our local tourism sector and recreational businesses at what’s already a difficult time,” said Ms Bath.

“Recreational shooters inject enormous amounts of revenue into regional economies, which is no more evident than in Gippsland.

“During 2019, the Commonwealth Department of Health report identified recreational hunting was worth $2.4 billion to the Australian economy, with Victoria contributing a huge $638 million each year.

“Organisations such as Field and Game and the Sporting Shooters Association are to be commended for ensuring their activity remains safe and sustainable.

“Locally, Gippsland Field and Game members are actively involved and committed to habitat restoration and protection.

“A prime example of this work is Field and Game’s restoration of the Heart Morass State Game Reserve, where local members play a leading role in maintaining this unique wetland system.”

Ms Bath said any decisions applied by Labor to duck season must be based on fact, not ideology.

“Recent rainfall in Gippsland has put water levels at key sites at optimal levels, with both Heart Morass and Dowds Morass full”, said Ms Bath.

“Other sites including Lake Coleman and the McLennan Strait are also in excellent condition.

“We have over 25,000 recreational shooters in Victoria who are licenced to hunt water fowl and Gippsland businesses urgently need the 2020 duck season to be confirmed.”