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Victorian shooters in solidarity with bowhunters over the border

Victorian shooters in solidarity with bowhunters over the border

Victoria’s leading shooting body has slammed a decision by the South Australian Government to ban bowhunting. SSAA Victoria says it is speaking out because “bad ideas have a nasty habit of crossing borders”. SSAA Victoria’s Hunting Development Manager David Laird labelled the ban a “disgrace”. “Bow shooting is a legitimate form of shooting, and bow hunting is a legitimate form of hunting,” Mr Laird said.

A bi-partisan committee of the South Australian Parliament conducted an inquiry into bowhunting that reported in November 2021. That inquiry made eight recommendations to regulate bowhunting in South Australia. None of those were to ban bow hunting. “Prohibition is poor policy,” Mr Laird said, “There is a golden opportunity here for the South Australian Government to follow the Parliament’s recommendations and regulate bowhunting to address community concerns”.

Recommendations from the Parliamentary inquiry included introducing training initiatives and amending the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to better regulate hunting. The South Australian Government has opted instead for an approach that would ban bowhunting by having the Governor sign off on a change in regulation. This means that the changes would avoid the scrutiny of the elected Parliament, where they would likely fail in the Upper House.

When SA Environment Minister Susan Close first announced the bowhunting ban in late 2022, the Minister’s rationale was “that was our election commitment (to RSPCA), we would ban the use of bows and arrows for recreational hunting”. This so-called election commitment was not made public before the election and is not included on the Government website outlining all of the commitments that SA Labor took to the March 2022 election. “The public is entitled to know what they are voting for,” Mr Laird said. “It’s ironic, given the vitriol we hear about the allegedly secretive gun lobby, that governments are making secret deals for support with the shadowy animal rights lobby”.

Read the South Australian Government’s proposed banning process here.