Media releases 2009

No reprieve for Native Waterbirds

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Premier John Brumby – just another climate change sceptic

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting today slammed the Victorian Brumby Government for selling out Australia’s native waterbirds by calling a recreational duck shooting season for political reasons.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, today said: “The Brumby Government’s decision to allow a duck shooting season in 2010 is totally irresponsible and a betrayal of the 87% of Victorians who want the recreational shooting of native waterbirds banned.

“At a time when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been in Copenhagen seeking an agreement on serious climate change issues, Premier Brumby seems oblivious to the potential crisis and has irresponsibly called another duck shooting season when native waterbirds are under extreme stress.”

“With wetlands drying and waterbird numbers down by 82% since 1983, Premier Brumby is acting like a climate change sceptic who lacks the vision to understand the serious plight native waterbirds face,” said Levy.

“It is difficult to understand how a modern Victorian Labor Government in the 21st century can still have the same destructive policies towards Australia’s native waterbirds as the Bolte Liberal Government of the 1950s and 60s.  Times have changed, with the recreational shooting of native waterbirds banned by three State Labor Premiers in WA, NSW and Queensland,” Levy said.

“As the Brumby Government has again made a political decision to look after their duck shooting mates, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting fully supports Ted Baillieu’s call for an independent Crime Commission to be established in Victoria.

“Calling another season simply for political reasons to accommodate a small number of duck shooters is corruption and must be investigated by a Crime Commission.   It defies all the scientific evidence that indicates waterbird numbers have seriously declined, and the fact that most Victorians want native waterbirds protected (87% according to a recent Morgan Research Poll).

“Once again the Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s rescue team will return to the wetlands to protect Australia’s native waterbirds from recreational shooters,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
0418 392 826

304/78 Eastern Rd South Melbourne Vic 3205  Tel 03 9645 8879 
email   web



Tuesday 23 June 2009

Field and Game Australia’s (FGA) Gippsland spokesperson, Gary Howard, today pleaded guilty in Sale Magistrates’ Court to illegally taking and diverting water under control of an authority.   The water was diverted from the Latrobe River onto Heart Morass – the organisation’s private shooting property – just a week prior to the opening of the 2009 duck shooting season.

Magistrate Lou Hill fined Mr Howard $1,500 without conviction and was ordered to pay $1,500 in costs.

The prosecution followed the Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s undercover survey of the property one week before the opening of the duck shooting season.

Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, today said: “This is a huge blow to Field and Game Australia’s credibility.  It is not just a theft against the local Gippsland community, but a theft from all Victorians who are doing it tough due to the long 12-year drought.

“It is more than just a coincidence that the water theft took place in the lead-up to the 2009 duck shooting season, especially as approximately 100 Field and Game Australia members had paid to shoot on the property on the opening morning.  It came as no surprise that the siphoned water had attracted around one thousand native waterbirds to the wetland,” Levy said.

“As Field and Game Australia entered into a partnership to purchase the property with the Hugh Williamson Trust, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and environment group, Watermark, it remains to be seen whether these highly reputable organisations will risk their credibility by remaining in partnership with FGA.

“This year the Brumby Government gave hunters a duck-shooting season, despite the science and the Department of Sustainability and Environment recommending against one, and yet Field and Game Australia let them down by illegally taking water.

“The question that has to be asked is whether this is the first time FGA have taken water without a licence, or just the first time they’ve been caught?” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
Mobile:  0418 392 826


Southern Rural Water
1300 139 510

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Hearts Morass prosecution

A Sale man has been prosecuted for taking and using water without authority, and with interfering with the flow in a waterway.

Gary Howard was today fined $1500 without conviction by the Sale Magistrates Court for the offences, and was also ordered to pay costs to Southern Rural Water of $1500.

Southern Rural Water’s Manager Groundwater and Rivers, Craig Parker, said the charges followed an investigation into an incident on the Latrobe River in March, where water was released from the river into Hearts Morass near Sale without authority.

Investigation showed that Mr Howard had released the water onto the property, owned by the Field and Game Association, just prior to the opening of the duck-hunting season.

“This prosecution is a timely reminder for landowners that they must have a valid licence to take and use water, and that they must comply with their licence conditions at all times,” said Mr Parker.

“Given that there is so little water available, we rely on landowners to do the right thing. Simply taking water from a river, without any authority, is not acceptable and is unfair to other users, including the environment.

Southern Rural Water encourages members of the public to report possible breaches of the Water Act for investigation.

For more information about water licences and their conditions, please contact Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510.


For media enquiries please contact Janet Granger-Wilcox on 0434 316 500 or 9259 5005.


Field & Game Australia caught siphoning off water to fill their private wetland

1,000 native waterbirds attracted by the water will become sitting ducks

Tuesday 17 March 2009

A Coalition Against Duck Shooting undercover team over the weekend bypassed the locked gates of the recently acquired Field & Game Australia’s (FGA) exclusive private shooting property, Hearts Morass, situated close to Sale, in Gippsland.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said: “Two water locks on the property were siphoning off water from the Latrobe River to fill the shooting organisation’s private wetland. According to FGA members, this has been in progress for a week. At a time when the numbers of native waterbirds in Victoria are down by 60% from last year, and when the vast majority of wetlands in the state are dry, over 1,000 native waterbirds, considered game species, have already sought refuge on this private wetland. These birds will become the proverbial ‘sitting ducks’ for FGA members next weekend on the opening of the duck-shooting season.

“The state government continually stresses the need for the public to save water. All Victorians are doing it tough because of the water shortages. Have we uncovered a case of Field & Game Australia actually stealing water from Victorians behind their backs, or is this just another case of Premier John Brumby looking after his shooting mates?

“If this is not an illegal water stealing operation, then Premier John Brumby must explain to all Victorians why FGA receives preferential treatment over the public, just to be able to indulge in their recreational pursuit of blowing away our native waterbirds – and this at a time when our birds are in serious trouble,” Levy said.

“We have contacted the Department of Sustainability over what we believe to be an illegal water siphoning operation and would assume that FGA would be charged with water stealing.

“This private wetland must also be declared off limits to hunters and declared a sanctuary, in order to protect the 1,000 native waterbirds that have been attracted to it.

One wouldn’t expect the hunting organisations to have any sense of decency or fair play, but the public would expect higher standards from their politicians, especially those in a Labor government,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:

Laurie Levy,
Campaign Director,
Mobile 0418 392 826

Premier John Brumby and Sarah Palin – soul mates

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Following Premier John Brumby’s decision to call a recreational duck shooting season in 2009, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, said: “Premier John Brumby today became Victoria’s equivalent of America’s rootin’, tootin’ and shootin’ Sarah Palin.

“Premier Brumby’s decision to allow a duck shooting season this year flies in the face of common sense, low bird numbers and abysmal environmental conditions. Victoria is experiencing low rainfall, excessive heat and now the Gippsland fires. Scientific evidence, which resulted in moratoriums being called in 2007 and 2008, has been ignored in favour of a political decision simply to appease the few remaining duck shooters in Victoria.

“Ornithologists predict it will take many years of flooding for waterbird numbers to return. With the looming disastrous impact of global warming it is imperative that we look to the future and protect our native waterbirds. Since their numbers have declined by 82% across eastern Australia over the last 25 years, it is evident they will need all the help they can get to survive into the future,” Levy said.

“Victorian water levels were at an all-time low at the start of 2009 with most wetlands in the state still dry due to the on-going 12 year drought. The few wetlands that still hold water in Gippsland are acting as refuges for the low numbers of native waterbirds in this state and must be protected from duck shooters.

“Field and Game Australia (FGA) make the claim they have minimal impact on waterbird numbers, yet their own hunter survey data shows that in fact they had maximum impact with over 300,000 birds shot in 2006. This far exceeded the 183,000 waterbirds counted by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) on Victorian wetlands in the lead up to the start of the 2006 season.

“The Brumby government fails to acknowledge the serious threat recreational duck shooting poses to native waterbird populations in Victoria,” Levy continued.

“The Victorian Government has now acknowledged wounding rates are far too high, with one in four birds wounded, Premier John Brumby has still called a duck season knowing full well that according to FGA figures, around 75,000 birds will be wounded.

“Victorians want this brutal and unnecessary activity stopped. While duck shooters have a friend in the Brumby government, the rest of the Victorian public will condemn this decision. An October 2007 Morgan research poll showed that 75% of Victorians want recreational duck shooting banned. However, once informed that waterbird numbers across eastern Australia since 1983 have declined by 82%, that one in four birds are wounded and that three states have already banned the activity, the percentage jumped to an overwhelming 87%.

“Once again our rescue team is being mobilised and will return to the wetlands to defend our native waterbirds against this government sanctioned brutality,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
Mobile: 0418 392 826