Media releases 2005


Tuesday 27 December 2005

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting has slammed the Bracks Government over its decision making process in the lead up to announcing a duck shooting season. The Coalition calls for the head of the Department of Sustainability & Environment ‘s Game Management Unit to be sacked.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy said today:

“The Bracks Government simply fudges the environmental data to justify giving the shooters a duck season at the expense of native waterbird populations.

“There is absolutely no transparency in the decision making process, which is dishonest and corrupt.

“Each November Dr Richard Kingsford, University of NSW, completes an aerial survey of waterbird numbers down the east coast of Australia and produces a report for state governments. This year Dr Kingsford pre-empted the release of his report in an interview on ABC TV saying that Australia’s bird populations are still struggling to recover and numbers have not bounced-back as hoped for. The news story said that after 23 years of surveys, this year is one of the worst.

“The information in Dr Kingsford’s aerial survey report has been manipulated and misused by the Game Management Unit to claim a recreational duck shooting season is sustainable.

“The only advice Environment Minister John Thwaites receives in regard to calling a season comes from duck shooters. The head of DSE’s Game Management Unit, himself a long time duck shooter, meets with the Hunting Advisory Committee (comprising shooters from different groups) to decide an outcome.

“As there is no consultation or advice sought from ornithological or environmental groups, it’s no wonder the minister received advice to call a duck shooting season.”

“Because of a serious conflict of interest, the head of the Game Management Unit should be stood down or sacked,” Levy continued. “We are calling for a transparent and fair process to be put in place. The 2006 duck season should be cancelled.

“The decision to hold a duck shooting season has nothing to do with environmental concerns. Department insiders say if decisions were made on environmental grounds, there would not have been a duck season during the last eight years of drought in Victoria.”

“The Coalition Against Duck Shooting is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the decision-making process, and into the environmental sustainability of Australia’s native waterbirds, or better still, for the recreational shooting of native waterbirds to be completely banned,” Levy said.

“The inquiry should also look at why the Bracks Government continues to ignore the cruelty issue in their decision making process. The Victorian Government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) has repeatedly called for a ban on the recreational shooting of native waterbirds on cruelty grounds. Other states have responded to their AWAC recommendations by banning the activity. Even calls by the RSPCA to ban the shooting of native waterbirds because of cruelty have gone unheeded,” Levy concluded.

For further information: Laurie Levy Campaign Director Tel (03) 9645 8879 Mobile 0418 392826




Bracks again fails Australia’s Native Waterbirds

Tuesday 13 December 2005

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting is outraged that the Bracks Labor government has again pandered to a handful of duck shooters instead of protecting our native waterbirds by announcing a recreational duck-shooting season in 2006.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said:

“Let me make it quite clear: this is a political decision by the Bracks Government which has nothing to do with science or the environment. The decision to call a duck season defies all of the scientific and environmental advice from Dr. Richard Kingsford who conducts the annual scientific aerial surveys across the east coast of Australia. This year his survey revealed that despite the drought appearing to have broken, waterbird numbers have not bounced back but remain at very low numbers.

“Dr Kingsford has pre-empted the Bracks Government’s decision by speaking about his survey to ABCTV recently, saying that even though there is more water this year following eight years of drought, waterbirds are still not breeding and their numbers are extremely low.

“The Bracks Government is misleading the people of Victoria. John Thwaites is simply not telling the truth. He is risking his credibility just to placate what amounts to only a handful of active duck shooters.

“The government has chosen to ignore the wishes of the majority of Victorians who want the recreational shooting of native waterbirds banned (70%, A.C.Nielsen poll, 2003).

“The Bracks Government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) again in 2003 recommended a permanent ban on the recreational shooting of native waterbirds on cruelty grounds. This advice is being ignored. Yet the NSW and Queensland Governments listened to their advisory committees and banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds, because of cruelty,” Levy said.

Enlightened Labor State governments banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds in WA (1990), NSW (1995) and in Queensland this year when Premier Beattie said, ‘This is not an appropriate activity in contemporary life in the Smart State’.

“A large Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescue team will again be active on the opening weekend and throughout the 2006 shooting season. The opening weekend coincides with the Commonwealth Games.

“As most police will be engaged at the Games and since Victoria’s 10 wildlife officers will not monitor armed shooters without police back-up, it is difficult to see how the government is going to enforce the activity. This could lead to a very dangerous situation.”

“In the 21st Century it’s difficult to understand why Bracks continues to allow Australia’s native waterbirds to be brutalised for recreation,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact: Laurie Levy, Campaign Director

Tel: 03 9645 8879

Mobile: 0418 392 826




Shooters seek help from American ballistics’ expert to reduce wounding rates of native waterbirds

Sunday 20 February 2005

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting has called on the Victorian Government to ban the recreational shooting of native waterbirds following a desperate move by shooting groups to seek help from an American ballistics’ expert to reduce the high wounding rates of shot birds.

The Victorian Hunting Advisory Committee, Field & Game Australia, Sporting Shooters Association and Winchester Olin have combined resources to invite American ballistics’ ‘expert’ Tom Roster to Victoria in an attempt to help shooters reduce the wounding rates of shot waterbirds.

Coalition Against Duck Shooting Campaign director Laurie Levy today said:

“This is a desperate move by Victoria’s duck shooters because they realise that the public will no longer tolerate the brutality that’s inflicted on native waterbirds by shooters during the duck season.”

“However, no amount of help will be effective. The spray from shotgun pellets will always wound birds smashing wings, knocking out eyes and even pellets lodging near bones and nerves will cause severe pain and suffering. And hunters continue to shoot at birds that are out of range. Many of these victims are hit yet continue to fly and escape. These birds are never retrieved.

“US ballistics expert Tom Roster recently told American duck shooters that unless they can reduce the high wounding rates in that country then duck shooting would go the same way in America as it has in Australia.

“Western Australia banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds in 1990. New South Wales followed with a ban in 1995. And the numbers of duck shooters in Victoria have decreased from about 95,000 in 1986 to around 20,000 still licensed today, however, only a few thousand of those are still active on the state’s wetlands.”

“Our mobile veterinary clinics have treated thousands of wounded birds on Victoria’s wetlands over the last 18 years. Our veterinary teams see the trauma and suffering these birds are forced to endure each year in what can only be described as a very outdated activity in the 21s’ Century.

“The Bracks Government must follow the wonderful example set by other state Labor Governments and ban the recreational shooting of native waterbirds after this year’s season, ” Levy concluded.

For further information contact: Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Coalition Against Duck Shooting Tel 03 9645 8879 Mobile 0418 392826



RESCUE TEAMS TO TARGET HIRD or McDONALDS SWAMPS, near KERANG – Saturday 19 March 2005 duck opening

Wednesday 16 March 2005


On Saturday 19 March, the Bracks Government will again declare war on Australia’s native waterbirds. The Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s rescue team will target wetlands in the northwest, either Hird or McDonalds Swamps, about 20 kms from Kerang.

The Campaign Director of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting Laurie Levy today said: “It’s unbelievable that the government has again artificially filled wetlands in the north west just to attract birds for the shooters.

“Many native waterbirds including endangered and threatened species have sought refuge from the 10 year drought on these wetlands. They will be sitting ducks for the shooters.

“It’s difficult to believe that a modem day Bracks Labor Government living in the 21st Century treats Australia’s native waterbirds as brutally as the Liberal Bolte Government did in the 1950s and ’60s, especially when two State Labor Governments in Western Australia and NSW have already banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds.

“This year the ALP Members Opposed to Duck Shooting will again join our rescue team on the wetlands. Courageous ALP grassroots members are prepared to publicly challenge their own politicians to help native waterbirds.

“Mobile veterinary clinics will be on the wetlands to treat wounded birds,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
Tel 03 9645 8879 Mobile 0418 392 826




Monday 21 March 2005

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting will present the Premier Steve Bracks with illegally shot protected waterbirds including swans, grebes, and even a small swallow that managed to get hit in the cross fire at Lake Murphy over the weekend.

Game species that were shot and not even picked up by shooters will also be displayed outside the premier’s office at 10am this morning.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said: “Steve Bracks has the blood of our native waterbirds on his hands again this morning. It’s really difficult to comprehend why in the 21st Century modern day intelligent politicians would allow this carnage and suffering to continue especially when the Bracks Government controls both Houses of Parliament.

“It’s also difficult to understand how a modern day State Labor Government could have the same policy on native waterbirds that the Liberal Bolte Government had, some 40 years ago, especially when State Labor Governments in Western Australia and New South Wales have already banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds as far back as 1990 and 1995.

“We would expect more concern and compassion for our native waterbirds from Bracks and his Ministers,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
Tel 03 9645 8879 Mobile 0418 392826


Location Premier’s Office, 1 Treasury Place, East Melbourne

Time 10am today



Media Release from Minister for Environment, Local Government, Planning & Women The Hon. Desley Boyle MP

21 April 2005

No duck and quail hunting season for 2005

As Queensland faced its third consecutive year of drought, State Parliament was told today that there would be no duck and quail recreational hunting season in 2005.

Environment Minister Desley Boyle told Parliament that sustained below average rainfall had seen duck and quail numbers dramatically fall, making a season unsustainable.

Ms Boyle said a recent waterbird population survey had revealed numbers at their lowest level since surveying began in 1984; down from one million to just 200,000.

Ms Boyle said: “I know recreational hunting of ducks and quails is a topic about which there are strongly and passionately held views both for and against.

“However, in the end a decision was made based on science and fact aimed at ensuring the long term sustainability of these native species.

“The annual survey showed just 20 birds in the key breeding ground of Macquarie Marshes in New South Wales.

“This location averaged 30,000 birds in the 1980’s,” Ms Boyle said.

Ms Boyle said approval for a duck and quail hunting season was based each year on an assessment of ecological sustainability.

“In providing advice, the Duck and Quail Management Advisory Committee have looked at such things as rainfall records, long term weather forecasts, surface water in dams and wetlands, and population data,” she said.

Ms Boyle said since 1995 the hunting of duck and quail in Queensland has been controlled by the Nature Conservation (Duck and Quail) Conservation Plan and Management Program 1995 2005.

There was no duck or quail hunting season in 2003, and no quail hunting season in 1995.

Ducks and quails are listed as ‘common’ under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Last year there were 376 recreational harvesting licences issued.

MEDIA CONTACT: Louise Foley on 3227 8819

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