Victoria is leading Australia, if not the world, in devising ways of legally killing wildlife.

The logging of formerly untouched forests and water supply catchments and the “ecological burning” of all National Parks and even small bush reserves throughout the state is now a constant. Permits are issued for the “control” and destruction, most often by shooting, of more than 60,000 protected mammal and birds species (not killed by fire) in Victoria annually.

Now the Victorian Government is proposing to setup a network of private game reserves and assist in enhancing habitat for native and feral species — even adjacent to public land like National Parks — so they can be shot for money.

The Department that is meant to protect wildlife already has form. The East Gippsland Region of the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in Victoria that issued permits to shoot Black Swans also has issued and maintained permits to shoot kangaroos on properties adjacent to where wildlife carers work — also under permits — to raise and release orphaned kangaroos.

Under threat of losing their licences to raise native animals wildlife carers have had to watch in silence as animals they rear are shot by their neighbours. Repeated pleas to DSE and Police firearm safety officers have fallen on deaf ears. These carers spend repeated weekends listening to hobby farmer neighbours blasting wildlife, often in fear they may be shot themselves. Now this carnage is to be formalised.

As the campaign to end the duck shooting season gathers momentum DSE staff have mounted an offensive with a plan to enable private property owners to receive grants to restore habitat to attract animals onto their properties that they can charge people to shoot. Indeed they propose enhancing environments for feral species such as deer to draw them from adjacent public land to be shot for money.

It’s proposed that landowners can restore degraded wetlands and profit by charging people to shoot the waterfowl they attract. It is even suggested that they change their cropping regimes to suit protected stubble quail so they to can be shot for profit — with permits issued by DSE.

Interested property owners are asked to register their properties. They are informed that the program is in its early stages and will evolve over time. Are permits to shoot “greenies” next?

Wildlife carers now have an additional unpaid role in providing “stock” for their neighbours to charge others to shoot. Just how does this pack of public servants from DSE manage to intimidate both the Government and the Opposition make them look like silent fools?

Peter Fray

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