Proud to serve

Sadly this is my last col­umn as chair­man of Field & Game Aus­tralia due to cir­cum­stances be­yond my con­trol.

Field and Game - - ROB TREBLE -

My pro­fes­sional life is with the Depart­ment of De­fence and the in­volve­ment of FGA’S Heart Morass wetland in the emerg­ing PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions around De­fence bases na­tion­ally raises is­sues of con­flict of in­ter­est, hence I have re­gret­tably re­signed as chair­man and from the FGA and WET Board’s.

FGA is a great or­gan­i­sa­tion I have been proud to serve.

I have in­vested 22 years of vol­un­tary ser­vice in var­i­ous com­mit­tees and my branch and I would be will­ing to do so again when cir­cum­stances per­mit.

One of the things you do in a lead­er­ship role is attend a lot of events and in do­ing so these past years I have seen first-hand the real strength of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, its peo­ple and their com­mit­ment to do good.

Whether it is an or­gan­ised shoot, a work­ing bee, a wetland con­ser­va­tion project, pest con­trol or pitch­ing in at a hunt­ing camp, our peo­ple are do­ers. Any grass roots or­gan­i­sa­tion needs peo­ple to do things, to or­gan­ise the fire­wood for the fire, set up the traps, or­der and pre­pare the food for the kitchen, to sweep out the toi­lets and check for snakes, to check and main­tain nest boxes, to fix tracks, to man the nom­i­na­tions hut or to clean up and pack up af­ter­wards.

Many or­gan­i­sa­tions strug­gle with the ba­sic tasks that keep them op­er­at­ing be­cause too few do the heavy lift­ing, I am proud to say from per­sonal observation, we don’t suf­fer that prob­lem.

When I took the chair­man’s role I wanted to fo­cus the or­gan­i­sa­tion on sup­port­ing and em­pow­er­ing the branch net­work.

Our branch net­work needs to be strong to con­tinue to pro­vide a range of events for mem­bers, and for our mem­ber­ship to keep grow­ing.

On that path of strength­en­ing FGA’S ad­vo­cacy voice, it is ter­rific that we grew by two branches dur­ing the past 12 months.

I know the Bill Pater­son, who has stepped back into the chair­man’s role, and the rest of the board will con­tinue to work on this.

As an or­gan­i­sa­tion FGA punches well above its weight given the re­sources at our dis­posal.

FGA will face sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges over the next year, rang­ing from deal­ing with en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues that im­pact on all Vic­to­rian out­door users, to work­ing with the var­i­ous de­part­ments in the 2018 sea­son ar­range­ments.

Make no mis­take that the var­i­ous agencies in­volved in game bird hunt­ing will ap­ply the pre­cau­tion­ary prin­ci­ple due to past hunter be­hav­iours. This sit­u­a­tion will be a bit­ter pill for the ma­jor­ity of hunters. The hunt­ing com­mu­nity will need to ac­cept some re­form in the fu­ture par­tic­u­larly as we re­cruit new hunters. Our ef­forts need to fo­cus on ed­u­cat­ing them to make them suc­cess­ful. I con­grat­u­late the Gee­long Field & Game branch on their ini­tia­tive in this re­gard: they ran a very suc­cess­ful ed­u­ca­tion day for new and in­ter­me­di­ate wa­ter­fowl hunters that you can read about on page 78.

That said, one of the rea­sons I be­came in­volved in our great or­gan­i­sa­tion was to fight for the free­dom of choice to be able to hunt. Much to my de­light both my chil­dren do and I value ev­ery one of the hunts I en­joy with Emily and Jack, and I thank them for al­low­ing me the time to play a lead­er­ship role with FGA.

I have no doubt that they en­joy a lazy morn­ing sit­ting over the de­coys as much as I en­joyed do­ing the same with my fa­ther.

Our abil­ity to con­tinue our cul­tural hunt­ing tra­di­tions is de­pen­dent on us all: our con­duct and our re­spect for hunt­ing is para­mount. FGA is the sharp end of the spear for the hunt­ing com­mu­nity, I en­cour­age you to be­come in­volved in your branch com­mit­tee and be­come lo­cal ad­vo­cates for wet­lands and the shoot­ing sports. FGA will be sixty next year and our fu­ture is bright, I am proud of FGA’S con­ser­va­tion cre­den­tials and the ad­vo­cacy role it plays.

To the board and staff, thank you for all your ef­forts and as­sis­tance dur­ing my time at the helm, par­tic­u­larly Peter Hawker our vice chair­man for his sup­port.

I also thank Bill Pater­son for step­ping up as chair­man and wish him well.

My fu­ture will in­volve more field trips fish­ing and hunt­ing with my chil­dren, a re­turn to ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in my branch at Sey­mour and whit­tling away some time catch­ing up on some de­coy carv­ing.

To all mem­bers, shoot straight, be safe and be proud.

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