Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr BARNETT
The opening of the annual duck shooting season starts this long weekend. Native ducks will be blasted out of the skies in the name of sport. As we witness every shooting season, non-target as well as targeted birds are wounded and die a painful and lingering death, beyond the reach of those who are watching and trying to keep count. Water birds in eastern Australia have been documented for years as being in significant decline.
BirdLife Tasmania has notified you that mainland ducks are flying to Tasmania to seek shelter from the worst drought in recorded history and from the devastation -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I am sorry, Dr Woodruff. I am actually struggling to hear Dr Woodruff's question because the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is talking at such volume while we are asking an important question about ducks. I ask you to whisper.
Madam SPEAKER - Okay. I am prepared to accept that point of order, providing you honour it in future. Please proceed.
Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, BirdLife Tasmania notified you that mainland ducks are flying to Tasmania to seek shelter from the worst drought in recorded history and the devastation from climate change induced bushfires. Those birds will be live targets for the next three months.
Will you follow the lead of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia and ban duck hunting in Tasmania, or will the so-called clean green state continue to be the laggard when it comes to native wildlife protection?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I did not hear through the interference of the Opposition, whatever that interjection was.
Madam SPEAKER - No, it was cheeky and rude, so ignore it.
Mr BARNETT - They were laughing about that. It is an important matter and I acknowledge the question.
The Liberal Government, as we have in the past and still today, recognises that appropriately managed duck hunting is a traditional form of recreation in Tasmania. My department manages an open season to provide access for recreational hunting and has strict regulations.
Dr Woodruff - The numbers of ducks killed every single year is 50 000 or 58 000. Business as usual is not okay, minister. The world is changing.
Madam SPEAKER - That is the interjection your Leader does not like, so please do not do it again.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I was simply raising the issue of the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition chattering at volume while a question was being asked.
Madam SPEAKER - Yes, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander, or the ducks, so please continue.
Mr BARNETT - That is an appropriate comment from the Speaker with respect to ducks. The department imposes strict regulations and procedures when it comes to ensuring that ducks and hunting of ducks is conducted in a humane way and in a sustainable way.
Dr Woodruff - Why are we the last state for everything? It is a disgrace.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff. The whole House is tempting me to ask somebody to leave. I do not want it to be you. Please proceed, minister.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am trying to provide some evidence for the member and members in this Chamber, that might satisfy the member or at least other members. I am not sure we will ever satisfy the Greens members.
The long-term monitoring of wild duck populations conducted annually by my department shows no evidence of long-term decline in wild duck numbers in Tasmania over this period. Wildlife population trends are determined using scientifically robust and statistically valid methodologies -
Dr Woodruff - They have taken no account of the current conditions in Australia.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Mr BARNETT - Monitoring has been regularly conducted in Tasmania for more than three decades under governments of all sides, including the former Labor-Greens government. As far as I am aware, under those previous governments duck hunting was not banned. Surveys undertaken in February 2020 showed numbers remained within the range observed in recent years.
Dr Woodruff - Were they taken on the mainland as well, minister?
Mr BARNETT - Madam Speaker, if I could continue.
Madam SPEAKER - You could.
Mr BARNETT - Madam Speaker, surveys undertaken in February 2020 show that numbers remain within the range observed in recent years.
Dr Woodruff - What about the migration of ducks?
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr BARNETT - The 2020 hunting season for wild ducks in Tasmania will open on Saturday, 7 March and close on Monday, 8 June. Wildlife enforcement officers will monitor the activities of duck hunters at wetlands to ensure compliance with rules and regulations in this place. I am also aware of calls from BirdLife Tasmania to cancel the 2020 duck hunting season and note that they have a known track record in calling for the banning of the duck season, with similar calls made in both 2017 and 2018. The Liberal Government supports the Tasmanian way of life. We support the important opportunities to be involved in recreational hunting or shooting. It is an important part of the Tasmanian way of life. It is part of what makes Tasmania great.