Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland spoke at a duck hunting forum in Craigieburn yesterday evening, joining over 400 recreational shooters and hunters calling on the Victorian Labor Government to reject the proposed ban on duck hunting.
The forum, held in Craigieburn, was also attended by Northern Metropolitan MP Evan Mulholland, Northern Victorian MP Wendy Lovell, Deputy Leader of the Nationals Emma Kealy, and representatives from Field & Game Australia.
Ms Cleeland said the forum was a great opportunity to express the feelings that many in her community had shared, with the overwhelming majority of people reaching out to her being against the proposed ban.
“I received hundreds of emails during the inquiry into duck hunting and it was clear the commitment that these hunters have to upholding sustainable and ethical principles,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Many of my constituents also take exception at the lack of understanding and falsehoods that the Labor Government continues to pedal.
“Recreational hunting is a legitimate and disciplined pastime enjoyed by many country people – participants can be young, old, tradies, professionals, men and women and their negative portrayal for the sake of politics is unjust.
“Duck hunting remains a well-regulated past time and with the science and waterfowl surveys continuing to show evidence of healthy populations, it remains sustainable.
“In my experience, recreational duck hunters explicitly care for our natural environment and participate in volunteer habitat restoration works including tree planting and weeds and pest control.
“Respecting wildlife and participating in duck hunting do not need to be mutually exclusive ideals.”
There are currently over 23,000 licensed duck hunters in Victoria, contributing $65 million in revenue for the state and supporting 587 full time jobs.
There are dedicated Field & Game clubs within the Euroa electorate in Kilmore, Seymour, and Benalla, as well as several smaller gun clubs.
“The thought behind banning duck hunting raises the question of ‘what next?’,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Everyone should be entitled to enjoy the outdoors without layer upon layer of unscientific and ideological red tape.
“There is another way to address this matter.
“By implementing scientific and evidence-based approaches, we can manage duck hunting and address regulatory, compliance and enforcement concerns that exist in the community.”