Vic Govt’s bird hunting inquiry a ‘stitch-up’

SSAA Victoria has uncovered acts of political interference during to the Victorian Government’s Select Committee Inquiry into Victoria’s recreational bird hunting arrangements. They have not minced their words in calling the whole inquiry a ‘stitch-up’.

Examples of interference range from fringe animal rights movement being allocated more time to present in the hearings than pro-hunting voices, to the animal rights movement being afforded the last speaking slot of the day and allowing them the advantage to reply. But the most blatant and disturbing incident of bias was what seems to be a deliberate hindrance of the Select Committee’s work by elements of the public service.

The most exasperating example of hinderance was the obstruction of the Committee’s request for access to a report that shows gamebirds can be sustainably harvested. The Conservation and Sustainable Harvest Models for Game Duck Species report, commissioned by the Victorian Labor Government as an election commitment, puts to bed any questions regarding hunting compromising the viability of game duck species. It states that a proportional harvest quota of 10 to 20 per cent is sustainable.

It is evident that the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) had held but not released Adelaide University’s Goyder Institute’s report, preventing the Select Committee from reviewing the relevant information. Although the report was completed on the 6 July 2023, it was still ‘under consideration’ by DJSIR until a week after the Committee deliberated on the final report. This meant that this new information could not be considered. One day after the Committee tabled their report on 28 August, DJSIR released the report on their website.

With the core rationale behind the Committee’s recommendation to end native bird hunting in Victoria being sustainability, it is simply outrageous that this report was not provided to the committee to consider. The report simply shatters this rationale and provides a way forward for sustainable game bird hunting.

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