Two-minute statement

8 February 2024

I rise today to welcome the Victorian Labor Government’s commitment to retain recreational duck and quail hunting. It’s a decision that is both sensible and common sense. I know that for some time this has been a sensitive issue; not everyone supports duck hunting and it’s important that we respect this diversity of views.

It is equally important that we respect the passion of many Victorians who enjoy, and have a dedication to, the sport and the contribution that it makes to many regional communities and towns that I visit as duty senator for the great state of Victoria.

Hunting is a legitimate activity that thousands of Victorians enjoy. In fact, there are some 58,000 licensed hunters in the state—folks who are passionate about conservation and the great outdoors. In 2020, a state government report found that the annual gross economic contribution of hunting was estimated to be $356 million, with $65 million of this coming from duck hunting alone. That’s around 20 per cent.

Unfortunately, there are some in my home state who lack an appreciation for policy beyond the tram tracks and some who are ignorant of the importance that this has to regional communities, particularly in the state’s east in Gippsland. The hunters who travel to the region support many local businesses: shops, hotels, B&Bs—you name it.

Whilst being a strong supporter of the duck season, I also recognise the importance of it being conducted in a manner that is sustainable and responsible, and I welcome the Victorian government’s changes to improve the knowledge and skill of hunters, compliance with game regulations and the recognition of traditional owners. I wish good and safe hunting to those who choose to participate this year.