Re:Shooting in National Parks

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Re:Shooting in National Parks
From: Jim Smart <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 05:52:49 +1000
This is the report in today's Sydney Morning Herald on the present position with the proposed bill to allow shooting in NSW National Parks:

Cabinet backs off from plan to hunt in national park
Alexandra Smith and Andrew Clennell
June 23, 2009

THE Shooters Party's push to hunt native animals in national parks appears to have been dealt a blow after state cabinet yesterday backed away from supporting the bill.

The party introduced a private member's bill to allow recreational hunters to shoot native animals and birds and to allow for private game reserves to be set up for professional safari hunters.

But it is understood the issue divided cabinet yesterday, with the Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, the Police Minister, Tony Kelly, and the Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, backing parts of the bill.

Mr Macdonald is believed to have pushed for cabinet to accept the bill with amendments, including allowing shooters - rather than government agencies - into national parks to cull feral animals.

But in what could be seen as a win for Nathan Rees and the Environment Minister, Carmel Tebbutt - who both opposed the bill - a decision was deferred until further talks could be held with the Shooters. The Opposition, the Greens and environmental groups oppose the bill and the Government had been accused of supporting it because it relied on the Shooters Party for critical support in the upper house.

It is understood the Prisons Minister, John Robertson, warned the Shooters Party could block key legislation in the upper house if it did not win the support for its bill and another minister is believed to have said the Shooters were "blackmailing" the Government.

Ms Tebbutt had said she would oppose key provisions in the bill and earlier yesterday the Premier also said he had reservations about the bill.

"I'd need to be persuaded that the issues of personal safety, the issues around native fauna and flora and so on are going to be properly accommodated," Mr Rees told Fairfax radio.

The Opposition's environment spokeswoman, Catherine Cusack, said the Coalition was opposed to shooting native species in national parks and the establishment of private shooting reserves. "The shooting of Australian native species in our national parks or exotic species in private game parks are offensive concepts," Ms Cusack said. "If this legislation is brought on the NSW Liberal [and] Nationals are armed and ready to move legislative amendments to make sure it doesn't happen.

"We will oppose this and introduce other amendments aimed at genuinely managing the real environmental and other threats posed by feral animals - not Australian native species."

The Greens MP Ian Cohen said the bill would give concessions to hunters under the guise of feral animal control. "I recognise that feral animals are a problem in NSW national parks, but if they are to be culled then it should be managed by trained Livestock Health and Protection Authority officers," he said.

"Recreational hunters are not helping when it comes to feral species - the reality is that hunters, with their dogs, are often a cause of pest species dispersal, driving feral animals into national parks."


Jim Smart
East Maitland NSW

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