In this article, we reveal how the Victorian Government has created a bureaucratic mess that may prevent a duck season in 2024.

We also reveal how the government has used duck hunters’ private information to gauge the political fallout if a ban goes ahead. 

Why Dan Andrews holds the key on 2024 duck season

WHETHER shooters in Victoria will have another duck season in 2024, depends on what the regulations that support a season say.

Those regulations are the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012.

Those regulations expired last year and have not been remade, but were extended by what is called a “Premier’s certificate”

AS THE NAME SUGGESTS, the certificate – which allows the regulations to continue for a further 12 months – are signed off by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.

That certificate expires this weekend, on Sunday, 10 September.

This means that if another certificate is not issued, there will be no regulations – and therefore no duck season in 2024.

It would also mean there would be no hunting of deer, which the government regards as a pest species.

Legal experts we’ve spoken with say it’s hard enough to get a Premier’s certificate issued – and unheard of to get a second one for the same regulations.

 If a second certificate is issued, then there can still be a duck season next year.

However, it would also mean that work to remake the regulations would need to start immediately if the government is to avoid having a second certificate expire in 12 months’ time – and we are not aware of any work being done to do that.

Game licence data used to gauge political fallout

We understand that last year, a senior advisor in the office of the Minister with portfolio responsibility for duck hunting, pressured the Game Management Authority to provide the office with information on shooters (postcodes) who hold game licences.

This would enable the government to determine the electorates that game hunters reside in, and the votes Labor could lose if it decided to ban duck hunting – and what the political cost of that decision might be.

It would be a highly inappropriate for licencing information to be used this way.

Underestimating the political cost

Readers may be aware that a Victorian Parliamentary committee recently recommended that duck hunting be banned.  The Andrews Government is likely to make a decision on that in the forthcoming months – which makes this data gathering exercise more than just a coincidental exercise.

OUR VIEW is that relying on calculating the likely cost in votes from a ban is quite naïve.

That’s because the government does not understand the recreational and cultural importance of shooting, or the symbolism that duck hunting is of the future of shooting more generally in Victoria.

This is also not the first time Labor political offices have been caught out using the Victorian Public Service for inappropriate political purposes.

In a former career, the author of this article received an almost identical approach under a previous Labor administration to hand over departmental information for electorate use.

 

UPDATE: We understand a Premier’s Certificate has now been issued.  This is good news. It still means that work to remake new regulations, which normally takes around 18 months to do, must now happen in less than a year. Thank you to the political people who made this happen.

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