BRACKS TREATS FARMERS and NATIVE WATERBIRDS with CONTEMPT
released on Wednesday 11 October 2006
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting supports farmers in the state’s northwest by also condemning the Bracks Government for artificially filling two shooting wetlands – Lake Cullen and Lake Murphy – especially in times of a worsening drought and climate change.
Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said: “Environment Minister John Thwaites is treating both the state’s farmers and Australia’s native waterbirds with utter contempt.
“Lakes Cullen and Murphy will be an oasis in the middle of an area where farmers are crying out for water. The Government’s plan is easy to see through: it’s to attract as many of Australia’s dwindling numbers of native waterbirds to these refuges for one reason – and it’s not out of concern for native waterbirds – it’s to give duck shooters an opening weekend in 2007. Thwaites is robbing farmers to pay the shooters.
“The filling of the lakes is part of the election sweetener to Victoria’s small number of duck shooters in the lead up to the November election,” Levy said.
“For example, earlier in the year Agriculture Minister Bob Cameron called a media conference to announce that the Bracks Government was allocating $2.5 million out of this year’s budget to facilitate hunting. Yet neither the government nor the shooters really know how the money will be spent. The Bracks Government is simply bending over backwards to appease the shooting organizations, instead of helping farmers who are doing it tough.
“The money would have been better spent by helping farmers to buy precious water especially as the government knew that farmers’ existing problems would be compounded by another El Nino, forecast to hit the state later in the year.
“For further evidence, in 2005, Thwaites artificially filled Lake Murphy, not out of environmental concerns for the health of the wetlands and waterbirds, but simply to create a refuge to attract waterbirds in order to give duck shooters an opening weekend in March this year. Thwaites even opened the wetland to shooters knowing that rare and threatened Freckled ducks and Brolgas were present. (Freckled ducks were illegally shot on the opening weekend).
“To support my argument, in the lead up to this year’s season, leading ornithologist Dr Richard Kingsford from the University of NSW, who conducts the native waterbird counts that the Victorian Government uses, was so concerned about the low numbers of waterbirds and the dry conditions, that he spoke to the media condemning the Bracks Government over its decision to allow a season to go ahead in 2005.
“The Bracks Government is playing farmers for suckers. Farmers need to send the Bracks Government a clear message in the November election. Their future depends on it,” Levy concluded.
For further information contact:
Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Tel 03 9645 8879 or Mobile 0418 392 826
BRACKS FAILS to CLOSE IMPORTANT WETLAND REFUGE RESCUE TEAMS TO TARGET LAKE MURPHY, near Kerang, Saturday 18 March 2006
released on Wednesday 15 March 2006
On Saturday 18 March 2006 the Bracks Government will allow duck shooters onto an important waterbird refuge, Lake Murphy, in the state’s northwest, on the opening morning of the season.
A large number of duck shooters are expected to converge on this wetland. The Coalition against Duck Shooting’s rescue team will also be at Lake Murphy to challenge shooters, in what is expected to be their toughest battle for many years.
Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said:
“This is an act of bastardry by the Bracks Government. In a region where most wetlands have dried out because of continuing drought, Lake Murphy, has been acting as an important refuge to thousands of waterbirds including threatened Freckled Ducks, Brolgas and newly hatched Cygnets. Shooters will converge on this wetland and our rescue team will also be there in an effort to help prevent the slaughter.
“ALP Members opposed to duck shooting will again join our rescue team on the water.
“Mobile veterinary clinics will be on the wetland and our veterinary staff is expected to be kept busy treating wounded birds.
“At a time when athletes are competing for gold at the ‘so-called Green’ Commonwealth Games, Premier Steve Bracks certainly won’t be awarded any medals for his decision to allow shooters into an important refuge,’ Levy concluded.
For further information contact:
Laurie Levy Campaign Director Tel 03 9645 8879 Mobile 0418 392826
Date Saturday 18 March 2006
Location: Lake Murphy (approx 10kms south of Kerang on way to Boort. off Boort-Kerang Rd).