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Victorian Nationals

Melina Bath – Bath calls for transparency in duck season debate

Wednesday 4 April 2024


With the 2024 duck about to commence, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has called on the Allan Labor Government to release the evidence it used to restrict duck season given evidence points to record high counts of game ducks.


The state government’s Game Management Authority (GMA) Report Abundance estimates for Game Ducks in Victoria released in April states, “The total statewide abundance of game ducks increased markedly from the previous year, three times higher than the estimate from the 2022 survey.”


Speaking in parliament on a documents motion on duck hunting Ms Bath said, “over the past few years we have seen the GMA make recommendations to government, which are ultimately watered down by the Minister.”


“Following extensive surveying, the GMA made recommendations that the 2024 season be a full season with a bag limit of nine birds.


“In contrast, Labor reduced duck hunting to an eight week season and a six bird limit even though the state government’s GMA report cites “there were more than five times as many game ducks counted on waterbodies in 2023 as there were in 2022”.


“I am genuinely interested to see Labor’s justification on why it chose to restrict duck season when it is contrary to scientific evidence and goes against the GMA’s recommendations.


Ms Bath said she supports evidence based decisions, noting a Labor, Greens, Animal Justice Party alliance voted to ban hunting during a select parliamentary inquiry into native bird hunting arrangements in Victoria.


“During the Inquiry Professors Klaassen and Kingsford, explained their 40-year study, the eastern Australian waterbird survey which forms the basis for a sustainable harvest model for ducks.


“The scientists indicated that hunting has no real impact on duck populations, instead stating the greatest influence on duck population is habitat and water in the landscape.


“A parallel Inquiry in South Australia on duck hunting recommended the continuation of the duck season after it found the activity was sustainable.


“Hunter conservation efforts to rehabilitate wetland environments in Victoria is widely documented – they have done more for habitat restoration in this state than protesters.


“Publishing the evidence behind Labor’s decision should end the argument – transparency is imperative in order to remove the politics and ideology from the debate,” said Ms Bath.

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