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Incredibly, Premier John Brumby has announced another duck shooting season for Victoria!

(Australian Wood Duck - a "pest" - source: Wikimedia Commons)

Incredibly, Premier John Brumby has announced another duck shooting season for Victoria!

It will run for 10 weeks from March 20, about two weeks shorter than normal.

The Government says conditions have improved in parts of Victoria and game ducks can be hunted sustainably. Hunters would be permitted to increase their take from last year's two per bag to five.

Victoria's wetlands are drying and becoming degraded through soil compaction, increased nutrients, weeds, grazing, trampling and erosion. Waterbird numbers are reported to be down by 82% since 1983.

As a result of the threats to wetland ecosystems, many species that depend on wetlands are now threatened with extinction. According to Birds Australia , many species, such as waders and other waterbirds, are threatened by changes to wetlands and coastal environments.

Acting Minister for Environment and Climate Change Tim Holding said the compromise struck a balance between ensuring sustainable duck numbers and the interests of hunters.

There is a small increase in waterbirds in one location in South Australia, not in Victoria. This fact is considered sufficient for a shooting them!

This is pure politically-driven idiocy, considering that with so few waterbirds left in Victoria, any breeding pairs will be shot out of the sky and the next generation will be non-existent.

RSPCA Victorian president Hugh Wirth said the decision showed a "blatant disregard for the welfare of Australian wildlife".
"It is no secret that thousands of ducks are wounded horrifically each and every season and die a slow and painful death," he said. He said 87 per cent of the community supports a ban, but the community's voice had fallen on deaf ears.

There is a total ban on the taking of Blue-winged Shoveler, Pink-eared Duck and Hardhead (White-eyed Duck).

The remaining five species – Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Mountain Duck (Australian Shelduck), Maned Duck (Wood Duck) and Chestnut Teal – may be hunted.

Warrnambool Field and Game Club secretary Graham Kemp said duck hunting season was necessary to cull species which were regarded as pests. "Wood ducks in particular have been pests and have a deleterious effect on dam water and get into farmers' crops. We are legally, responsible shooters."

Wood Ducks:

The Australian Wood Duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It feeds mainly on grasses. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land. The Australian Wood Duck forms monogamous breeding pairs that stay together year round.

As some breeds of kangaroos, the Australian Wood Duck has “benefited from the creation of dams and irrigated crops on farmlands”. This assumes that Wood Ducks were not plentiful and that water was less available before European settlement. It can sometimes “damage crops and pastures”.

Why make this environmentally damning decision? It will provide entertainment for a privileged few shooters!

(Cartoon by permission of Carol Drew)
“Ornithologists predict it will take many years of flooding for waterbird numbers to return. With the looming disastrous impact of global warming it is imperative that we look to the future and protect our native waterbirds. Since their numbers have declined by 82% across eastern Australia over the last 25 years, it is evident they will need all the help they can get to survive into the future,”
Coalition Against Duck Shooting Campaign Director Laurie Levy said.

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John Brumby and Tim Holding (acting Minister for Environment and Climate Change) have made it clear they don’t care about the impact of their policies or what other solutions are available. The prime need is to get re-elected. A desalination plant at Wonthaggi and a pipeline from a drought area are probably the worst technological solutions they could have chosen for Melbourne's water supply. Opponents say desalination plants produce carbon emissions and endanger the local wildlife, including whales.
The government plans to build a 70 kilometre pipe from the Goulburn Valley to Melbourne to transfer 75 gigalitres of water a year to the capital. Threats to wildlife due to the pipeling include the Murray Cod, the Macquarie Perch, the Striped Legless Lizard and some of our grassland ecosystems.
The lack of planning for protection of our waterways, massive loss of habitat for wildlife due to logging and land clearing, urban sprawl, freeway construction and continual damage to the State of Victoria shows that wildlife have little importance in the agenda of our Brumby government. Tim Holding's experience is with the Police portfolio after the Manufacturing and Export and Financial Services Industry. Shortly after completing year 12 at Haileybury College, he signed up to the Army Reserve where he spent two years serving in the 1st Commando Regiment. In 1992, aged 19, he was elected to Waverley Council and has graduated with a Law Degree. He has no experience or qualifications regarding wildlife, and his experience in public show he has a complete disregard for biodiversity and environmental issues.

Australia claims it has 'Responsible Government' whereby our current political system has an executive government, the Cabinet and Ministry, is drawn from, and accountable to, the legislative branch - the House of Representatives.
But few Ministers hold the academic qualifications or experience to hold their portfolios. Worse is that even when they take up the portfolio, the system does not require a crash course diploma to be undertaken to get up to speed.
It's 'she'll be right', on the job training and bubble along and trust your department (s).
Environment is not even treated as a senior portfolio like Health or Industrial Relations of Foreign Affairs. The Lib-Lab (Liberal/Labor Parties) treatment of the Environment portfolio in recent decades is to rename it and bundle it in with other disparate portfolios like Arts for instance.
Australia's system of government prides itself on centuries old Westminster system inherited unquestioned from Britain. While we have a separation of powers between the Executive (the Ministry), the Legislature (the Parliament) and the Judiciary (the Courts), we also have a separation between the qualifications of the Executive and their portfolios - competent departments led by incompetent Ministers.
Arguably Peter Garrett took on the Environment Portfolio with more experience than the respective Minister's at State level in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. But our Kevin has castrated his potential and effectiveness since day one. I look forward to Pete's book when he ultimately resigns and sits down to tell us all the truth and his frustration.
Even Pete's portfolio is a miscellaneous bucket - Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts', which flies in the face of Big Kev's hyperbole about Climate Change. Wong is a lawyer so given the Climate Change portfolio because of her ducking and weaving around the facts? Law is all about winning, not justice.
Look at Victoria:
Gavin Jennings MP is the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation.
Look at NSW:
Frank Sartor MP (previous planning minister with a record for undoing much of the environmental protection legislation in the state is Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, but also Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Cancer). Environment is listed as 8th in the seniority of portfolios.
Look at Queensland:
Queensland doesn't even include the word 'Environment in the Minister's title: Kate Jones MP is Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, which is bundled with Natural Resource and Water.
Look at Tasmania:
Michelle O'Byrne MP is Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism Arts.
Says a lot about the disingenuous regards the Lib-Labs have for our Environment.
Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

The duck shooting season will open soon in Victoria, on the weekend of the 20th March, despite the lack of wetlands and waterbirds.

It was a bad political move for the Victorian government to announce that the duck hunting season in 2010 that will not only be longer than in 2009, but the daily bag limit will increase from three to eight.

Professor Richard Kingsford, the scientist responsible for surveying bird numbers since 1983, found that between 2007 and 2008 there was a dramatic 60 per cent decrease in numbers.

If waterbird numbers of some varieties have "increased", it means that they have made some progress towards recovery. The number of waterbirds, after 12 years of drought, is down by 83 % across eastern Australia in the last 25 years.

The word "sustainable" to justify more desecration and environmental vandalism is over-used and has become an oxymoron!

We have a whole DSE to care for wildlife, yet this politically-driven season is declared again!

Shame, Mr Brumby! There are virtually no birds to kill, except a few survivors trying to breed. Even shooters should be contrary to this decision.
To join up for the duck rescue team, go to


Mr Holding, Acting Minister for Environment and climate change is reported in this article to have said that the decision to increase the numbers of ducks per shooter that can be shot during the duck shooting season strikes a balance between sustainable duck numbers and the interests of duck hunters. This might be true for his idea of "balance". But are the 2 issues under consideration of equal importance? If they were and only a compromise (rather than a "win /win" ) could be reached then it may make sense to aim in that direction. However the 2 issues are not equal at all! The duck hunters are not relying for food on the ducks they shoot! We are talking here about entertainment or "sport" not their very well being and that of their families.
The nature of the decision admits that sustainable duck numbers in the future have been compromised in an already depleted population! That really is important especially for the ducks and even for future duck shooters if we really must have them.

Tim Holding has no environmental or wildlife credibility at all. He studied law. If he had visited some of the wetlands and seen that there were almost local extinctions of waterbirds, he would realise his "balance" was non-existent. Local extinctions, if ignored, can lead to wider extinctions.

The whole hunting culture is derived from the British aristocracy and brought to Australia by our Colonial forebearers and has nothing to do with survival or sustainability.

Your wrong about the hunting culture.
That statement about British aristocracy shows just how ignorant you are.
Hunting culture started the minute we climbed down out of the trees.

Dear Anonymous, indigenous people of Australia hunted on a subsistence level for food. They did not hunt purely for entertainment. In fact, due to bias of some anthropologists, they have exaggerated the hunting over the gathering!
There is some evidence that mega fauna could have been hunted out of existence, but that could have been done by dingoes.

Indigenous people lived here for some 40,000 years and kept our land in pristine condition, with intact ecosystems with abundant wildlife. They did not over-populate either.

In 220 years of European settlement, the devastation has been enormous, far too extensive to list. The British introduced animals here to hunt, to replicate what they did in their own country. This hunting culture was introduced to Australia then. There is no logic or need in killing for entertainment, especially when the species could easily become locally extinct, as it already appears to be the case with Victoria's native waterbirds.

As for "coming out of the trees" to improve us is what the Meat and Livestock would like us to believe!

Quiet Tasmania's picture

I've often felt that, wherever they are willing to take it on, the Aborigines should be charged with the task of caring for our natural environment - and given the resources and the power to do it.

The white man buggers just about everything he touches. He's an environmental vandal.

Peter Bright

And the loggers and farmers say 'trust us' with virgin lands, while in their wake like recidivist criminals they have deforested, burnt, overgrazed, introduced rabbits, noxious weeds, genetically altered crops, over-irrigated, made saline, acidified with superphosphate, robbed rivers and eroded marginal lands into virtual deserts. And Vicforests, Forests NSW and Forestry Tasmaia say 'trust us'.
Yeah sure, like foxes with chickens and Ivan Milat with backpackers.

Look at the Riverina, the Wimmera, the Murray Darling, the Barkly Tablelands the Channel Country and Australia's Wheat and Sheep Zone. Show me one logged or agricultural region in Australia that can proudly boast sustainable best practice, where families on the land are not constantly pleading for interest rate favouritism, where lands are sustainable to the extent that successive generations are inheriting improved lands in a healthier more viable/profitable state, and where they co-exist sustainably with the natural environment - ie. health soils, mixed forest habitat and wildlife species not closer to regional extinctions.

Most of Australia's European agriculture fashioned on imaginary fertile soils and reliable rainfall only survives due to government concessions.

How can recidivist colonist despoilers dare to criticise indigenous Australians who have respected the land for millenia? Australian traditional peoples deserve to own and control all Australian Crowns Lands and National Parks.

Our racist ''anonymous'' commenter shouldn't throw stones in his glass house.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

The newly formed Duck Army for kids and teenagers is having a protest outside Parliament House at 11am, next Sunday March 14.

The youth of Victoria will be telling Victorian Premier John Brumby that they want the recreational shooting of native waterbirds banned.

Please note - the Duck Army is not connected to the Coalition Against Duck Shooting. It is a new group for kids and teenagers, run by two talented and articulate teenagers - Clementine Round (15 years) and Jack Styles (13 years).

We wish them all the best with their campaign.

Victoria's native duck shooting season begins very soon. Why this travesty, this shame? Why are there no ethical regulations to protect native ducks? Researchers doing bird counts, not killing birds, must comply with "ethical" standards to protect them. However, hypocritically, they are allowed to be pelted with shots, and even strangled under the label of "natural" and "organic" food. They are allowed to be pelted with shots for recreation!

Where are the ethics of this decision? This blood sport is dangerous, cruel and unwelcome in Victoria, except for a few red-necks with rifles.

Our government has time to call it off and do the RIGHT thing. Other states have banned recreational shooting- except Tasmania and South Australia. Why is Victoria so behind?

Native waterbirds are coming back to breed and have many challenges ahead after a long drought. They should be allowed to do as Nature allows them.

With cattle in our Alpine parks, duck shooting in wetlands, pressure from the rural sector to allow a commercial kangaroo industry, Victoria is becoming a 19th backwater.