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Adjournment: Duck hunting season 2020

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
20 February 2020

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Agriculture, and the action I seek is for the minister to cancel the 2020 duck shooting season and to ban duck shooting for good across Victoria. Victoria is still reeling from a summer of catastrophic and devastating bushfires. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed, 1.4 million hectares were burnt in the state and hundreds of millions of our wildlife were killed. The severity of the bushfire season was a shock to us all, but it should not have been, because this type of extreme season is what we face if we fail to take action on the climate crisis.

Taking action on climate change means immediately getting out of dirty brown coal, transitioning to a green economy and stopping logging in our native forests. It also means protecting remaining habitat in Victoria so that our threatened animals and birds have somewhere safe to recover from fire seasons such as this one. At a time when our flora and fauna are still recovering from significant habitat destruction this summer, it is unthinkable that we would then turn a blind eye to the mass slaughter of waterbirds in our wetlands. If the government permits this year’s duck shooting season to go ahead, that is exactly what we are doing. Legal duck shooting is not sustainable in a climate crisis. Our waterbirds are already struggling after years of drought, with game species’ abundance already at low levels. Our birds are even more at risk after this summer and are only more likely to suffer in continued extreme fire seasons. There is absolutely no reason for their numbers to be further reduced by hunters.

Given all the environmental evidence against duck shooting—including, as Mr Meddick raised yesterday, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria finding toxic PFAS in waterbirds from several Victorian wetlands; a reduced number of ducks, with 90 per cent fewer waterbirds since the 1980s; the effect of severe drought on the wetlands; and the fact that every year threatened duck species are killed—there is just no justification for this continued barbaric practice. I call on the minister to ban duck shooting in Victoria, starting with cancelling this year’s duck shooting season.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
20 February 2020
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