Monday, 28 June 2010

The word from Friends of the Earth on the dirty duck shooting deal and what to do about it

Barmah-Millewa Campaign Update
Friends of the Earth Melbourne
#52, June 2010

Dear friends,

Please find our occasional electronic bulletin below. Through this publication 
we aim to keep you updated on the progress of the Barmah-Millewa Campaign and how you can get involved.

The contents of this edition are:
1. Dirty Deal to Allow Duck Shooting in Murray River Park
2. Action Alert - Overturn the Dirty Duck Deal
If you are receiving this for the first time, it may be because you have recently subscribed yourself or given your email address at a FoE stall. If you don't want to receive this newsletter, many apologies: you can remove yourself by sending a message to
Jonathan La Nauze
for the Barmah-Millewa Collective
Friends of the Earth Melbourne

1. Dirty Deal to Allow Duck Shooting in Murray River Park


Above: Duck-shooting in McDonald Swamp, northwest Victoria; An illegally shot native waterbird at the same location. Images by Noah
With Victoria's new Red Gum Parks to be officially proclaimed in ceremonies along the river tommorrow, we are very sorry to have to bring you some bad news. As reported in the Sunday Age yesterday, the Brumby Government has secretly promised duck hunters access to at least 40% of the 35,000 hectare Murray River Park despite promising parliament it would do the exact opposite.

Allowing duck hunting in the Murray River Park will seriously jeopardise the ecological integrity of Victoria's new Red Gum Parks. Across the Murray-Darling Basin, native waterbird populations are in long-term decline due to pressures such as habitat loss and recreational hunting - exactly why the new Red Gum Parks are so important. It defies belief that the Brumby government would undermine its own policy in such a blatant way.
Environment groups around the state cheered when Premier Brumby and his Environment Minister announced the Red Gum Parks in December 2008. A key element of park plan was the 35,000ha Murray River Park, connecting major national parks such as Barmah and Ovens and protecting thousands of critically important wetlands and billabongs along the river.

The detail was tabled in parliament on March 10th, 2009 as the Formal Government Response to the VEAC River Red Gum Forests Investigation. It explicity stated that in the Murray River Park,
"hunting and use of firearms" would not be permitted. Again, environment groups applauded the policy, as we did in November when the legislation finally passed.

Meanwhile, it seems the government has been telling duck hunters something else. In a letter sent to hunting lobby groups the Sporting Shooters Association and Field & Game this March, Minister Jennings promised "40 per cent of the length of the Murray River Park will be available to duck hunters upon the proclamation of the park." The letter was obtained by the Victorian National Parks Association under Freedom of Information laws.

Legally, the Minister has the power to permit duck hunting in the Murray River Park but doing so would be a blatant contradiction of what he told parliament and amounts to an extraordinary policy backflip. 
It will seriously undermine the Brumby government's conservation credentials only five months out from an election.

2. Action Alert - Overturn the Dirty Duck Deal
Five months from an election in which the green vote is predicted to be critical, you'd think the Brumby government would be  protective of its most significant conservation achievement. But Environment Minister Gavin Jennings has undermined all the hard work by promising to allow duck shooting in at least 40% of the vast Murray River Park before he has even launched it.
For the next two days Minister Jennings will be launching the new Red Gum Parks in ceremonies along the river, seeking to maximise media coverage of what on all other accounts is a terrific environmental and social justice achievement. You can bet his secret promise to the duck hunters won't feature highly in the media spin, 
so it's up to us to highlight the truth on talkback and in the letters pages:

774 MelbourneCall or SMS John Faine's morning program from 8:30 - 11am
Call  - 1300 222 774
SMS - 19 774 774

The AgeEmail -

Sunday AgeEmail -

Premier John Brumby
Email -
Phone - (03) 9651 6255

It's not too late to undo this dirty deal. Premier Brumby must intervene and ban duck shooting in the Murray River Park as his government promised parliament it would do.

For more information on the impacts of recreational duck shooting, visit the theCoalition Against Duck Shooting website

About the Barmah-Millewa Collective
The Barmah-Millewa Collective shares a vision of healthy country, where biodiversity and bush tucker flourish; where the land, rivers and wetlands are clean and healthy; and where Traditional Owners enjoy their inherent rights to care for country and enjoy its produce.

In 2001 we joined the Yorta Yorta in their campaign to protect the world’s largest river red gum forest - Barmah-Millewa - from logging and cattle grazing, and negotiate a joint land management agreement with government. This campaign grew to cover the red gum forests along the length of the Murray and achieved a stunning victory in December 2008 with the announcement of 91,000ha of new red gum national parks in Victoria, and the co- management of the Barmah and Nyah Forests.

Building on this success, we now collaborate with Traditional Owner Nations throughout the Murray-Darling Basin to protect and care for this unique and threatened landscape. Our work ranges from on-ground revegetation projects through to campaigns for Aboriginal land rights and new conservation reserves.

Please support our workThe Barmah-Millewa Campaign relies on the generous support of everyday people like you.

If you are interested in volunteering with us please get in touch by

You can make a tax deductible donation from your credit card right now by visiting our website - just click here and follow the prompts.

Alternatively you can mail in a donation using credit card, cheque or money-order.Click here to download and print a donation slip (file in pdf format).

All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Thankyou for your support.

Contact Detailsemail:
phone: 9419 8700
visit/post: 312 Smith St/PO Box 222, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065

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