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Victoria ignores advice to ban duck hunting

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The Allan Government has tightened regulations on duck hunting across Victoria, falling short of a parliamentary inquiry's recommended ban.
Duck hunting will remain legal in Victoria despite a recommended ban.

Victoria will not ban recreational duck hunting, going against the advice of a Government-led inquiry.

Last year, a parliamentary committee led by Labor Government MPs recommended banning the autumn/winter recreational hunting season.

Victoria’s decision goes against other states including QLD, WA, and NSW, where duck hunting has been outlawed.

Animal rights advocates criticised the move

Duck hunting

States and territories determine duck hunting rules. In Victoria, it’s illegal during duck breeding seasons, but seasonal hunting is permitted. Shooters need a special licence during this period.

Animal welfare advocates have long opposed recreational duck hunting, saying it can severely damage a duck’s bill, legs, and wings, causing intense suffering before they are killed.

Review

The Victorian Government launched a review into duck hunting last year, which attracted more than 10,000 public submissions — the most ever received by a parliamentary committee in the state.

It recommended a ban on seasonal hunting over concerns about the falling number of native birds in the state.

It also said the practice had caused an “unacceptable wounding and death rate” of threatened bird species.

Government response

Instead of a total ban on the practice, Outdoor Recreation Minister Steve Dimopoulos this week announced duck hunters will be subject to stricter measures from 2025.

The restrictions include delaying the daily start time for hunting to 8am, limiting hunters to six kills a day, and making extra training compulsory for shooters.

Dimopoulos said duck hunting was a “legitimate activity” which “supports regional communities and economies.”

Opposition

The Greens and the Animal Justice Party slammed the government’s decision not to outlaw duck hunting.

Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the government failed to follow its own advice, and that the move revealed “the power of the shooting lobby” over the Labor Party.

Some Labor MPs have previously spoken publicly about wanting to see duck hunting banned across the state.

Shooters

Victorian construction union secretary John Setka supported the government’s decision to allow duck hunting to continue across the state.

Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers MP Jeff Bourman, who was on the parliamentary committee, said the government had made the right decision in not banning the activity.

It’s estimated 0.4% of people in Victoria own the appropriate licence to shoot birds.

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