Field & Game Australia CEO Dean O'Hara says Victoria's Game Management Authority needs to stop embracing activists.
Field & Game Australia has been invited by the Game Management Authority (VIC), to make a submission both written and orally with regards the 2020 Duck Season. What is hugely disappointing is that the GMA has also invited:
• BirdLife Australia
• Animals Australia
• Coalition Against Duck Shooting
• Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting
I was horrified when I received the information and immediately wrote to Simon Toop, Director of Strategy and Research expressing my concern.
Interestingly some of these organisations, if you can call them that, have no status, no structure, no membership, no direct funding, no standards, no constitution, no rules, no respect and no evidenced based argument; in fact, they have no idea, yet the GMA has invited them to make a submission!
Given that each of these organisations maintains a policy of banning duck hunting they have a clear apprehended bias. This is not the forum for a debate on hunting, it is a process to set the parameters for a sustainable Duck Season and the GMA has a clearly defined role to promote sustainability and responsibility in game hunting in Victoria.
The GMA is in effect hosting an anti-hunting forum which is contrary to its charter.
I also raised the absence of indigenous representation. Indigenous people have hunted this land for thousands of years, but it seems they are not entitled to make a submission. Let’s invite a largely non representative group of activists to make a submission instead! You have got to be kidding.
Does the GMA want to listen and take on board the evidenced based facts and data of an organisation, 60 years-old, that is committed to sustainable and ethical hunting or rather listen to the few pseudo organisations that are not genuine stakeholders, and in some cases have a handful of members?
FGA has a membership of over 17,500 Australians.
Has the GMA forgotten the vegan protests that brought cities to a standstill earlier this year that hampered even emergency services responding to those most in need? Have they forgotten the trespassing and disruption activists perpetrate on legal businesses across the country including farmers? Have they forgotten our indigenous community?
I am committed to ensuring sustainable and ethical duck hunting continues in Victoria based on facts and data and the vast experience gathered over our long history of working for all native water birds through protection and rehabilitation of wetland habitat to sustain healthy populations.
I ask this of the GMA; when have you seen Birdlife Australia, RSPCA, Animals Australia, Coalition Against Duck Shooting or Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting on a wetland doing conservation work?
FGA members have invested time and energy over the past 60 years to develop, maintain and rehabilitate wetlands.
I have been a supporter of the GMA in undertaking compliance activities as the regulator; what I cannot and will not support is a circus under the guise of consultation with the GMA as ringmaster.
The views of these organisations is firmly fixed and well known. There is nothing to learned from inviting their submissions so they can simply pursue their narrow ideological viewpoint based on unsubstantiated claims and unreliable anecdotal evidence.
Add to that their activist tactics which disrupt ordinary Australians undertaking legal activities and you can understand the need speak up about the current GMA path.
GMA, it is time to listen to those that are committed to wetland rehabilitation and sustainable hunting and not the distorted views of activists.
Chief Executive Officer
Field & Game Australia