Duck shooting closures debated


The Surf Coast community has expressed mixed feelings on duck shooting closures across the region.

Surf Coast Shire Council accepted two contrasting petitions regarding wetland closures during the duck hunting seasons at its Tuesday, May 28, meeting.

The Petition of Permanent Closure of Lake Gherang and Lake Modewarre to Duck Shoot was presented first and was unanimously accepted by council.

The petition opposed the permanent closure of Lake Gherang and Lake Modewarre to duck shooting following council voting to request a Lake Modewarre season closure at its April 23 meeting.

Councillor Paul Barker said the petition reflected the “concerns of 315 people”, with half of the signatures belonging to the Surf Coast community.

“This topic was raised by council at our last meeting and could impact how these areas can be used by individuals who currently enjoy duck hunting, a legitimate recreational activity,” he said.

“Since this issue was raised, I’ve met local hunters and have been thoroughly impressed with their conservation efforts and voluntary contributions to managing waterways for decades.

“I’m less impressed to learn of how government efforts over these decades have actually resulted in damaging consequences, such as serious disruptions to water flows in the Connewarre system.”

The second petition, titled Closure of Brown Swamp and Lake Modewarre to All Native Bird Shooting, was accepted by seven councillors, while Cr Barker opposed it.

The petition called for council to help stop duck shooting near Brown Swamp, Lake Modewarre and Lake Gherang for the safety of native birds and people.

Cr Kate Gazzard said the petition had received more than 302 signatures, including close to a third from the Surf Coast Shire community.

“It’s really good to hear all sides of the issue from the community…and the state government has already decided to close Lake Modewarre to duck shooting this season,” she said.

“The main rationale was the public amenity and safety, so this for the closure of sections within 250 metres of residential properties and largely around Brown Swamp where there’s young families.”

Mayor Liz Pattison said both petitions would be debated at a future council meeting.