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Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Pink-eared Ducks) Bill 2013 Second Reading

(Bill, Second Reading, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

The Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Pink-eared Ducks) Bill 2013 gives the Government the opportunity to demonstrate whether its plan to let recreational hunters shoot ducks on farms is about pest management or about letting hunters expand their blood sport.

 

Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter. We know the public is opposed to recreational hunters being given more opportunities to shoot animals. Polls, surveys, petitions and protests constantly prove this. It was demonstrated in the recent city by-election when it was revealed there was a 6 per cent swing against the Government. A key comment repeated to me was outrage at the expansion of hunting in national parks. I do not support duck hunting. It was banned almost 20 years ago.

I thank the member for Balmain, the member for Macquarie Fields, the member for Drummoyne, the member for Wagga Wagga and the member for Tamworth for their contributions to the debate. The member for Drummoyne made the astute comment that ducks are a mobile animal. I appreciate that contribution. In this debate we have heard a lot about different types of birds, mice and recently ibis. The discussion has focused on animals that cause damage to crops, but the pink-eared duck is not one of them, because it eats pests. Because of the way the bill is structured the pink-eared ducks cannot impact on crops. The Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Pink-eared Ducks) Bill 2013 gives the Government the opportunity to demonstrate whether its plan to let recreational hunters shoot ducks on farms is about pest management or about letting hunters expand their blood sport.

Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter. We know the public is opposed to recreational hunters being given more opportunities to shoot animals. Polls, surveys, petitions and protests constantly prove this. It was demonstrated in the recent city by-election when it was revealed there was a 6 per cent swing against the Government. A key comment repeated to me was outrage at the expansion of hunting in national parks. I do not support duck hunting. It was banned almost 20 years ago.

I do not support duck hunting. It was banned almost 20 years ago because it is cruel. It is difficult to ensure that a clean shot will kill a duck instantly. Many are wounded and suffer a slow, painful death. Following a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party last year the Government supported the introduction of native game bird management licences, which allow the shooting of native fowl on private property. The purpose of the legislation was to permit duck hunting only for the purpose of sustainable agricultural management. Those claims have been totally discredited by the Government's opposition to this bill. The pink-eared duck does not eat crops; it eats animal-based foods, including known grain-eating rice pests such as chironomid larvae and ostracods. In fact, it helps rice farmers. The argument that pink-eared ducks should be shot because they muddy the waters with seeds and attract other ducks is a shameful response. Surely the fact that they eat the bugs that harm the crops is reason enough to delist them. The member for Balmain made a good point: The bill that was introduced last year allows ducks to be hunted all year round, not just during rice season. I met with the Minister's staff and asked them to provide me with the research to back up the Government's opposition to the bill. I was told they did not have any but that I would be sent industry research. This did not happen and I am not sure whether such research exists. I am also concerned about the precedent that a native bird that is a valuable pest destroyer can be shot because of its association with a species that eats crops. The death-by-association logic is completely flawed. What other native animals will be targeted next? Will this process be followed again to achieve the support of the Shooters and Fishers Party to privatise yet another port? There are now 14 native species listed as "game" under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002. It is in the best interests of the Shooters and Fishers Party to increase this number. The Shooters and Fishers Party no doubt has a long list of other native species that it thinks its members should be able to shoot. While the pink-eared duck is not a vulnerable species, shooting them is no less cruel. I am disappointed that the Government's opposition to this bill means that it will not be passed and the pink-eared duck will be killed under the native game bird management licences, despite its contribution to crop pest management. It is clear that the Government's legislative agenda is being held hostage by the Shooters and Fishers Party and its radical anti-animal welfare agenda. The pink-eared duck does not eat grains; it is carnivorous. It should not be killed in the name of sustainable agricultural management. I commend the bill to the House.

Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put. The House divided.

Question resolved in the negative.

Motion negatived.

Bill not read a second time.


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