Question without Notice: Duck Hunting Season

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — My question is to the Premier. Premier, the recent Pegasus Economics review of the Game Management Authority (GMA) found that breaches of hunting laws during duck season are widespread and commonplace and that the GMA was incapable of enforcing those laws. Given your regulator's own incompetence, will you now stand with the vast majority of Victorians who oppose duck shooting and cancel this year's duck season, due to start in 10 days?

 

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — On a day when we were all convinced that there was nothing that separated the coalition from the Greens, it seems that there is at least one thing. I thank the member for Prahran for his question. He is smiling. A lot of people on the West Gate are not smiling, because while some people were out taking their pet unicorn for a walk this morning or eating their quinoa with their almond milk on it, there were people who could not get where they needed to be because of projects being opposed by the Greens.

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The Attorney-General will leave the chamber for the period of 1 hour. He has already been warned.

Attorney-General withdrew from chamber.

Ms Sandell — On a point of order, Speaker, we did not ask about quinoa and we did not ask about the West Gate tunnel; the member for Prahran asked about the duck shooting season and whether the Premier will now cancel it. I ask if you could perhaps direct the Premier to answer the question.

The SPEAKER — I uphold the point of order. The Premier will come to answering the question.

Mr ANDREWS — I do apologise, Speaker. It would almost certainly be kale cereal with almond milk, not quinoa. I was asked about a serious matter, though, in relation to —

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS — No, it is about ducks. It is about ducks, Matt. It is about ducks. It is not about geese; it is about ducks. The Leader of the Opposition is not having much of a day. It is not about geese; it is about ducks.

The review that the member for Prahran cites is an important matter, and it does highlight that there were some compliance failures during opening weekend last season. In light of that report the government has taken significant steps to boost our compliance capacity — the capacity out there in local communities — ahead of this year's opening weekend. Beyond that we have also made some important regulatory changes so that it is easier for our officers to detect anyone who is doing the wrong thing. Those additional personnel and the expertise and the training that they have been given will be in operation in communities across the state. We have no plans to make changes beyond that, other than to respond to the recommendations to improve compliance and improve training and resources, but if the member for Prahran is expecting me to make a change to our broader policy, well, that is not happening.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — The Pegasus report found that not only was the Game Management Authority unable to enforce the hunting laws but it was hopelessly conflicted in its role as both regulator and promoter of hunting, something that the Greens actually pointed out five years ago when we opposed the creation of the GMA. Premier, how can you have any confidence that we will not see more of the same killing of threatened species that has occurred every single year under your government?

ANDREWS (Premier) — It would seem that we perhaps should not have bothered to have the review. We could have just listened to the commentators-in-chief sitting up there in the cheap seats. We could have just done that. Instead, as I made clear in the answer to the substantive question, there has been a review. People are open and very clear about the fact that there have been compliance failures in relation to opening weekend last year. That is why we have taken steps, practical steps — you know, real action instead of commentary — to deal with those issues. It will be more than interesting; it will be real. It will actually happen, member for Prahran. We will not be sitting around commentating about it. We will review again and see what happens this coming weekend, and if there are further steps that need to be taken to deal with compliance, we stand ready to take those.