Native bird hunting report released

31 August 2023 Read the report

Watch Select Committee Chair Ryan Batchelor highlight the recommendations and findings contained in the report.

State Game Reserves would be opened up to the public for recreation activities such as camping and boating, under a proposal to end native bird hunting in Victoria.

The recommendations are contained in the highly anticipated inquiry report into Victoria’s recreational native bird hunting arrangements.

A Legislative Council Select Committee has urged the State Government to discontinue the activity on all public and private land from 2024.

‘This would bring Victoria in line with many other Australian jurisdictions,’

Committee Chair Ryan Batchelor

‘The Committee’s rationale is driven by the considerable environmental evidence of long-term decline in native bird populations, and a worsening outlook as our climate continues to change,’ Mr Batchelor said.

‘The Committee was also acutely aware of the animal welfare issues associated with native bird hunting, as well as the amenity loss of large areas of public land to the overwhelming majority of the Victorian public during the hunting season.

‘Tens of thousands of hectares of public land are off limits to non-hunters during duck season, but with the appropriate investment in infrastructure State Game Reserves could be converted into Outdoor Recreation Reserves.’

The report makes further recommendations, including to retain traditional owner hunting rights and keep in place existing exemptions to hunt and control native bird populations impacting agricultural and other land.

The Committee is also calling for more action to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sites from damage and destruction. 

‘This report is the culmination of an extensive amount of research and evidence provided,’ Mr Batchelor said.

‘Over 10,400 submissions were sent by individuals and groups, making it the most submissions accepted by a Victorian parliamentary committee by a significant margin.’

The Committee also conducted site visits at the Heart Morass Wildlife Reserve just outside Sale in Gippsland, and the Connewarre Wetlands near Geelong.

‘I particularly want to thank those individual hunters and animal welfare activists who we encountered. All were genuine in their positions and advocated clearly and calmly for their point of view,’ Mr Batchelor said.

Across six days of public hearings the Committee also heard from dozens of witnesses, including academics, hunter-conservationists, animal welfare experts, unions, regulators and government authorities.

‘I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who attended our public hearings. Your contribution has greatly helped the Committee in its deliberations and in formulating the report’s final findings and recommendations,” Mr Batchelor said.

The full report, hearing transcripts and public submissions are on the Committee’s website.