REGIONAL Victorians Opposed To Duck Shooting has continued its fight to be heard with a series of TV ads airing across the state.
The group hopes Victoria will follow other Australian states and ban recreational duck shooting.
Spokesperson Kerrie Allen said the duck shooting debate was often centred around animal welfare and the rights of shooters, but there was a third significant stakeholder whose voices were unheard.
“It’s those of us who own property, live, work and raise families in these communities,” she said.
“For at least three months every year, our daily lives and businesses are disrupted. Our basic human rights to live and work in peace, without fear, have come second to the rights of a minority who like to shoot our native waterbirds.
‘‘It’s a huge thing for us to speak out in these ads, knowing the shooting lobby will target us, but we are sick of being the hidden victims of duck shooting.”
Ms Allen said rural Victoria had wetland habitats which could rival Kakadu if it wasn’t for shooters keeping tourists away.
“Tens of thousands of our waterways are dominated by a handful of shooters, upsetting our children and animals, destroying the habitat and keeping tourists away, tourists we desperately need to keep our small towns afloat,” she said.
“Less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks while recent tourism data shows record participation in visits to nature parks, bushwalking and visiting indigenous culture sites.”
Ms Allen said nature based tourism was the largest and fastest growing component of general tourism and could flourish if recreational duck shooting was banned like it is in WA, ACT, NSW and Queensland.
“Nature based tourism already supports one in eight businesses, employs one in 20 Australians and for a third consecutive year, enjoyed a growth rate higher than the national average,” she said.
“Rural Victorian towns are being denied the chance to benefit because of a minority group who like to shoot native waterbirds.’’
For information, visit regionalvictoriansotds.com