Duck hunting should be banned in Victoria, inquiry finds

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Victoria should end its annual duck-hunting season from next year, a long-awaited parliamentary inquiry has found.

The recommendation will enrage hunters and some unions, which have threatened to campaign against the Andrews government if it follows through with the committee’s recommendations.

A duck hunter at Connewarre Wetland, on the Bellarine Peninsula earlier this year.Credit: Justin McManus

Duck-hunting seasons are nonexistent in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. WA banned duck hunting in 1990, NSW followed suit in 1995 and Queensland banned the practice in 2005.

Alongside a ban, which was its first recommendation, parliament’s select committee on Victoria’s recreational native bird hunting arrangements called for existing duck-hunting exemptions to be retained for farmers controlling bird populations on agricultural land.

Traditional owner hunting rights should also be protected, the inquiry found.

The committee’s final report, which was tabled in parliament on Thursday, also recommended that state game reserves used for duck hunting should be converted into parks with the purpose of providing “greater access to outdoor recreation for all Victorians, with appropriate investment in camping, boating and related infrastructure”.

The nine-person committee was made up of three Labor MPs, one Greens member and Victorian parliament’s sole Animal Justice Party representative who, when working together, commanded a majority.

The other members of the committee included two Liberal MPs, one Nationals representative and parliament’s sole member from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he was yet to read the report, but that its findings would be considered by cabinet.

He said the government typically took three months to respond to parliamentary reports.

“That’s only a guide, you can take as long as you need to take,” Andrews said. “It is a matter of what is in it.”

Victoria’s duck hunting season typically begins in March or April every year.

It comes after the government shortened this year’s duck hunting season, which ran from April 26 to May 30. The 2022 season ran from mid-March to the middle of June.

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