• Loddon Herald

Full duck season call

The Nationals today called on on Victorian Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas to stop delaying the announcement of a full duck season for 2022.

Leader Peter Walsh said it is an announcement that should be based on the research and science; not as a political tool to lure inner-city votes.

He said they understood the Game Management Authority has delivered its recommendations to the government; so there are no excuses for further obfuscation.

“The pandemic, the shorter seasons and the reduced bag limits have all been disappointing for hunters, they deserve a full season.” Mr Walsh said.

“Most recent data estimates duck populations have remained strong across Victoria, with estimates of between 2.9 and 3.6 million game ducks, numbers buoyed by our consecutive wet years combined with La Niña conditions over summer, have only sustained populations,” he said.

“There is simply no reason for this Minister or this Government to further reduce bag limits or the length of the season – particularly when other states have just announced full seasons.”

Mr Walsh said the economic impact of shortened season is also something the government has been happy to sweep under the carpet.

He said recreational shooters are a critical part of the regional economy; supporting local shops and businesses when they travel and “this needs to be encouraged, not destroyed”.

“This is not just about shooting; our recreational hunters will inject a massive $356 million into the regional economy – that’s the sort of numbers we need to be talking to boost our local businesses as they try to recover and rebuild.” Mr Walsh added.

“The Minister must announce a full season. Anything short of that – apart from the obvious vote hunting in Melbourne – will be yet another slap in the face of regional small business by a government which has already proved regional communities are not on its agenda,” he said.

“Rather than harvesting city votes in an election year, Daniel Andrews and his government must look beyond the outskirts of Melbourne and support regional businesses and recreators.”

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