PRESS RELEASE: Lawlessness pervades Victoria's wetlands: Independent Report concludes

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On MAR 1, 2018

LAWLESSNESS PERVADES VICTORIA'S WETLANDS: INDEPENDENT REPORT CONCLUDES

Shooters are descending on regional communities across Victoria without any effective oversight, an independent report into the state's hunting regulations has found.

The report into hunting regulator, the Game Management Authority (GMA), concluded that hunting laws in Victoria are not only ineffective but are unenforceable. 

Animals Australia has obtained a leaked copy of the damning report.

"Anyone reading this report would conclude that there is only one responsible course of action that the Andrew's government could take, to cancel the 2018 duck shooting season," said Animals Australia's Investigations Director Lyn White. 

"Yes, it will take courage to stand up to the gun lobby but the government is duty bound to ensure Victorian laws are upheld. To allow a season to proceed would be a direct breach of public trust."

The report conducted by Pegasus Economics, concluded:

  • Non-compliant behaviours and unsanctioned breaches of hunting laws are widespread and commonplace.
  • The regulation of duck shooting in Victoria is ineffective.
  • Hunting laws in Victoria are impossible to effectively enforce.
  • The current licensing regime is ineffective in ensuring a minimum acceptable level of awareness and competence amongst hunters.
  • GMA is conflicted in its role as a promoter and regulator of hunting and has a 'too comfortable' relationship with hunting organisations.
  • GMA has not been able to effectively deliver its compliance and enforcement responsibilities.

The Andrews government recommended the report be undertaken after another disastrous duck shooting season last year, which saw blatant law-breaking and hundreds of rare and protected waterbirds illegally shot. On opening weekend, appalling shooter behaviour was occurring in the presence of GMA officers.

"This is no longer about differing views on whether waterbirds should be shot. This is about the abject failure of the current regulatory regime to prevent abhorrent and illegal shooter behaviour."  

"Nothing that the government is proposing will change this. This is the only so-called sport in the state that can occur without a 'referee' being present despite one side having shotguns and the other fleeing for their lives."   

"Victoria's native waterbirds deserve better and Victorians need a government willing to stand up to shooters and uphold the law," said Ms White. 

Given its implications for native wetlands, protected species and the safety of citizens living in regional communities, Animals Australia has made a copy of the report available on our website at www.AnimalsAustralia.org/report  

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