and shooting in NSW National Parks
The Game and Feral Animal
Control Amendment Bill 2012 was voted into legislation on 20th June 2012
- Allow the minister to make
national parks available "for the hunting of game animals by persons
who hold a game hunting licence".
- Specifically exclude only
48 of our metropolitan national parks and other types of reserves, along
with wilderness and world heritage areas. This leaves most of our 779
reserves at risk of being opened to amateur hunting.
- Expand the list of "game
animals" that can be hunted on public land (like national parks)
to include several non-native bird species.
- Prevent anti-hunting protests
by making it an offence "to interfere with a person who is lawfully
hunting game animals on public hunting land" (including national
Premier O’Farrell said
before and repeatedly after the 2011 election that he would not allow
hunting in national parks or indeed make deals with minor parties.
Premier O'Farrell then famously
back flipped on his commitment, claiming that allowing recreational hunters
into our national parks was a logical extension of an existing policy
of having professional hunters and NPWS staff eradicating feral animals.
This is incorrect and clearly spin. The Game Council is replacing pest
control with amateur game management. The motivation of the amateur shooters
as enshrined by this recent legislation is to hunt game not eradicate
Shooters and Fishers MLC, Robert
Borsak, said ''Our understanding is that if it all goes well, then we
would be able to access more parks.'' In response, the Environment Minister,
Robyn Parker, would not rule out opening more parks to amateur hunters.
at first said amateur hunting would be restricted to 79 national parks.
When the Bill was tabled in Parliament, 79 had become 779.
The above summary
of the Act is from an NPA email. You can go to their website to find out
how to help get this Act revoked.
Read the complete Game
& Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2012 - http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/nswbills.nsf/1d4800a7a88cc2abca256e9800121f01/c8afc0c4709e478bca25788e0005e862/$FILE/b2011-163-d18-House.pdf
message has been distributed by and to staff in the NPWS on Thursday
21st June 2012.
Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2012 passed both Houses
and came in to being yesterday. The new Act will come in to being 6
months from this date.
Our heads of department
are trying to make the best of a poor situation, as is to be expected.
We are of course the public service and our job is to do what the government
dictates. But don’t be fooled.
The talk was that
just 79 parks were identified as up for consideration at this stage.
The Bill that was passed instead specifies just 48 reserves that CANNOT
be declared for hunting. ANY of our other 751 reserves may be opened
up for hunting, at the whim of the Minister. Also to note is that while
MNER reserves are currently in the exclusion list, the Bill also allows
the Minister to remove parks from this list at any time.
Some other elements
which are apparent straight away:
- It can not be
assumed that NPWS officers have any authority as inspectors under the
- The Act prohibits
anyone from interfering with a licensed hunter or their activities .
. . this may include an NPWS officer approaching a person in the park
to ascertain whether they have the appropriate permissions to be there.
- Persons hunting
under licence will be exempt from any offence under the NPW Act and
Regs for activities associated with hunting and necessary for the purposes
of hunting . . . carrying firearms or other hunting devices, using motor
vehicles for access . . .
- The Act specifically
excludes licensed hunters from abiding by NPW Act stop work orders or
interim protection orders . . . which are issued when an action or activity
may significantly affect protected plants/animals/their environment,
aboriginal objects/places, or other items of cultural heritage.
- The current program
in State Forests (and in other public and private lands) is administered
by the NSW Game Council. There is nothing legislatively to say it won’t
be the same for us.
(If you’re keen to do your own homework, links to the original
2002 Bill and the 2012 Amendments can be found below).
Our unions and
professional associations are fighting this. All the peak conservation
organisations are fighting this. Now is not a time to be complacent.
After considering the Shooters & Fishers Party’s position
statements, and the power the Party has over our Premier Barry O’Farrell,
it is clear the hunting issue is very much just the tip of the iceberg!
2. SMH interviews
An article in the
Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday June 26 sets out some of the thoughts of
the Hunters and Fishers Party. It notes that 'All but 48 of the state's
almost 800 national parks could eventually be opened up to recreational
hunters, according to Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak, who said
in an online video "Our understanding ...is that if it all goes well,
then we would be able to ask to get access to more parks".
Do these sound like the words of someone interested only in taking part
"in an extension of the current safe program of feral animal eradication"
(a quote from a spokesman for the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker)?
to read the full SMH article
any of the green links below to open the page:
webpage - list of parks included and excluded plus links and
discussions and ways to protest
4. The website
of the Invasive Species Council has more information about why
so called 'conservation hunting' by amateur hunters is not an effective
means of controlling feral animals.
- includes a map of inclusions and exclusions, but read
the fine print
A Dangerous and
Damaging Deal: Let there be no doubt. The plan to allow 15,000 amateur
hunters into NSW national parks is not motivated by good environmental
At a superficial
level, an offer to allow access to our national parks for volunteer
hunters keen to shoot deer, goats, pigs and other feral animals sounds
Yet the evidence
shows that a program of hunters controlled by the Game Council will
provide no environmental benefit, likely lead to environmental harm
and place at serious risk the public’s enjoyment and safety.
& Fishers Party’s Position Statements and Action Plans
- position statement, media releases, links to petitions and additional
information eg Invasive Species Council
8. Game &
Feral Animal Control Bill 2002 (including earlier amendments)
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