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Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Page: 9057

Mr HAWKER (4:24 PM) —It is my very great pleasure to present a petition that draws to the attention of the chamber the vital role that hunting plays in the conservation of species, habitat and ecosystems for future generations. This very large petition was collected in just two days in one location in Sydney. It has over 1,800 signatures, and I really want to commend one of the organisers, the Chair of the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting, Dr Samara McPhedran, for all the work she has done on this. Dr McPhedran said:

People in regional, rural and remote communities are suffering through drought and hardship—

which we know. She continues:

The Parliament would do well to endorse their right to maintain and grow the alternative income stream gained through welcoming hunters into the community.

She points out that hunters contribute at least $40 million just to the economy of Victoria, not to mention the whole of Australia. As I said, the petition calls upon the parliament to recognise the vital role hunting plays in the conservation of species, habitat and ecosystems for future generations.

Mr Deputy Speaker Schultz interjecting

Mr HAWKER —I have got the chair helping me here! Dr McPhedran said:

The World Conservation Union promotes hunting as a powerful conservation tool, but Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world in accepting this reason. It is time Australia caught up with the international best practice approach to conservation.

To support what she is doing, there is a lot of very good work that has been done over a number of years. For example, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee inquiry into the commercial utilisation of Australian native wildlife concluded:

Hunting has considerable potential to assist with conservation objectives, particularly for areas of land which are perceived to have little other economic value (such as swamps and wetlands), and also has the potential to contribute wealth to local communities which may have little other opportunity to derive income from their land and wildlife.

The Ramsar convention on wetlands endorses sustainable wildlife use enacted through practices such as waterfowl harvesting. Australia-wide, it is estimated that hunters generate over $1 billion annually for the economy. It has certainly been acknowledged in the Northern Territory that hunting is a way of ensuring the long-term sustainability of waterbird populations. The Game Council of New South Wales have done positive work in getting rid of feral animals, and this happens in other states as well. I commend those responsible for this petition and I have very great pleasure in formally presenting it to the chamber.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

This petition of certain citizens and residents of Australia draws to the attention of the House the vital role hunting plays in the conservation of species, habitat, and ecosystems for future generations.

Your petitioners therefore respectfully request that the House —

(a)   Formally acknowledge that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (World Conservation Union) promote hunting as a powerful conservation tool.

(b)   Endorse sustainable wildlife use in Australia, enacted through practices such as waterfowl harvesting.

(c)   Recognise the contribution hunters make to regional, rural, and remote communities and economies in Australia.

from 1805 citizens

Petition received.