Suspend duck hunting
RSPCA Victoria is calling on the Victorian Government to immediately suspend the 2018 duck shooting season and pause the issuing of any further game hunting licences, in response to the Pegasus Economics Assessment of the GMA’s compliance and enforcement function report, until the issues it raises can be resolved.
RSPCA Victoria has long advocated for a ban on duck shooting because of the level of fear, pain and distress caused to the animals involved – in particular, to those that are wounded rather than killed outright, and left to die slowly.
However, while the activity remains legal, RSPCA Victoria has focused on advocating for improvements to hunting laws, regulations and practices, including introducing mandatory skills education and practical testing for all game licence holders.
As with any human activity that impacts on the welfare of animals, RSPCA Victoria believes that all hunting must be subject to a rigorous licencing, compliance, oversight and enforcement regime.
Victorians must have confidence in both the integrity and the effectiveness of laws designed to protect animals, and in regulators that monitor activities that create harm. The higher the potential for harm, the stronger this legislative and regulatory framework must be.”
In particular, RSPCA Victoria notes Pegasus Economics’ observations that:
- The GMA’s inability to ensure compliance with the hunting laws has seriously undermined its credibility as an independent and effective regulator and raises questions about the integrity and sustainability of the regulatory regime;
- Game hunting laws are widely perceived by internal and external stakeholders to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce;
- With the exception of duck hunter identification skills and hound hunter knowledge skills, applicants currently seeking a licence to hunt game are not required to prove any knowledge of the law, demonstrate even a basic understanding of safe and responsible hunting practices or possess any hunting competence.
In response to the report, RSPCA Victoria would expect the Victorian Government to suspend the 2018 duck hunting season, and the issuing of any further game licences to hunters, until all Victorians can be confident in the integrity and effectiveness of the hunting regulator, and that the laws designed to protect animals will be properly enforced.
Liz Walker, chief executive, RSPCA Victoria
Raising epilepsy awareness
FOR Purple Day 2018, on March 26, Australians with epilepsy are encouraging people to become better informed about epilepsy to reduce the fear and misconceptions often associated with the condition.
Around 250,000 Australians are diagnosed with epilepsy, and more than 65 million people worldwide, making it the world’s most common serious brain disorder.
More people have epilepsy than have Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined, however epilepsy remains poorly understood – and often feared – by much of the community.
That’s why we’re using the tagline “Know epilepsy. No fear” this year, to promote the idea that knowledge is power when it comes to understanding and assisting someone with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Action Australia has developed an extensive suite of online resources designed to increase understanding and awareness of epilepsy in the community, including seizure first aid advice, with most material available free of charge on our website www.epilepsy.org.au
On behalf of all Australians living with epilepsy, thank you in advance to the people in your region for supporting Epilepsy Action Australia.
Your support helps to ensure people living with the condition can lead optimal lives.
Carol Ireland, chief executive, Epilepsy Action Australia
LOW-FLYING helicopter inspections are underway in areas across western Victoria as part of Powercor’s bushfire safety program.
The inspections will continue until April, with thousands of powerlines to be surveyed across Hamilton, Horsham, Mildura, Warrnambool, Swan Hill and Ouyen regions. Inspections around Shepparton, Bendigo and Geelong have been conducted over recent weeks.
The Bell 206 helicopters fly between 250 and 500 metres above powerlines and, using state-of-the-art helicopter survey equipment, capture images of the assets. The flights are taking place during daylight hours.
The Light Detection and Ranging Measurement (LiDAR) survey involves using a laser measuring unit mounted on a helicopter to measure the distances between power lines and surrounding vegetation. The images will then be sent back to specialist teams that will analyse them and determine what vegetation will need to be removed this year to ensure our network remains safe and is compliant with regulations.
This is work to get us ready for next fire season, however the images will also allow us to detect if there is any urgent work that needs to occur immediately.
As the owner and operator of the electricity poles and wires across some of Victoria’s most bushfire-prone areas, we work throughout the year to prepare for summer.
During 2017, Powercor inspected more than 286,000 power poles across the network.
If residents have any questions, they can contact Powercor on 13 22 06.
Wayne Evans, vegetation manager, Powercor