Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 22, 2023



Native Bird Hunting

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (16:37): I move:

1. That a select committee of the Legislative Council be established to inquire into and report on the hunting of native birds, with particular reference to:

(a) community values and perspective;

(b) cultural, social and recreational aspects;

(c) sustainability, environmental and animal welfare aspects of native bird hunting;

(d) economic considerations;

(e) perspectives of First Nations;

(f) how native bird hunting is managed in other jurisdictions; and

(g) any other relevant matter.

2. That this council permits the select committee to authorise the disclosure or publication, as it sees fit, of any evidence or documents presented to the committee prior to such evidence being presented to the council.

The Labor government made a pre-election commitment to review the practice of hunting for native birds which are not over-abundant pests. To address this commitment, I recommend to the Legislative Council the establishment of a select committee as specified in my motion. I am aware that duck and quail hunting is a contentious subject, with passionate stakeholder groups either supporting duck and quail hunting or conversely calling for a ban on the practice.

Undertaking a review through a committee of parliament such as this allows for a transparent and open process that enables all views to be heard for consideration. The Department for Environment and Water currently regulates protection of native fauna and recreational hunting in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

A specific duck or quail open season hunting permit must be held to hunt these protected species and, typically, open season declarations by the minister are based on advice provided each year by the department. This advice is based on assessment of climate data and forecasts, landscape and wetland conditions, and waterfowl abundance. The potential impact of hunting activities on the conservation and sustainability of waterfowl and quail populations and stakeholder feedback are also considered.

In South Australia, the Department for Environment and Water may also issue a permit to destroy wildlife to allow the destruction of protected native animals, including native birds, that are causing or are likely to cause damage to the environment, crops, stock or property or pose a health and safety risk. These permits enable mitigation of impacts created by protected fauna and do not allow for recreational hunting.

Where destruction of protected fauna is allowed by the National Parks and Wildlife Act, whether permitted by an open season hunting permit or a permit to destroy wildlife, this must be undertaken in accordance with a code of practice for the humane destruction of wildlife relevant to the species being destroyed as a condition of permit to satisfy the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.

Recreational duck hunting is currently permitted in Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Recreational quail hunting is permitted in Victoria and Tasmania, and New South Wales allows volunteer hunters to help landholders manage the impacts of ducks on their agricultural lands.

Once the committee has undertaken this review, the recommendations from the committee will then be considered by the government. I commend the motion.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. N.J. Centofanti.