The spin of this Bill is so feral animals can be controlled in National Parks. But in reality the proposed changes would mean the following main changes:
* Many of Australia's native fauna across NSW would be condemned as 'game animals' just like in colonial times, when Australian native animals were despised as 'vermin'. Other native animals can be included in the shooters hit list so long as there is consultation with the Minister for National Parks (DECC).
* It would be lawful for sporting shooters to hunt and shoot native fauna in all National Parks, State Forests, Crown Land and 'private game reserves' across NSW. Killing wildlife is to be branded as 'conservation hunting' and basically would be permissible through most natural landscapes outside built up areas.
* The Game Council of NSW, which is a government body dominated by members of shooting and hunting clubs, and it would assume authority for granting shooting licences in National Parks.
* Shooters and hunters in National Parks would be immune from protesters trying to protect native animals and birds - as it would become "an offence to approach persons (within 10 metres) who are lawfully hunting on declared public hunting land, or to interfere with persons lawfully hunting game animals".
* Any environmental protection legislation that impedes shooting and hunting of native animals is to be overriden by the new changes - such as under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
* Hunting of native game animals can be done by non-commercial shooters - i.e weekend sports shooters. Using spot lights is optional and it is ok to leave the dead, dying and injured prey where they fall.
* In the case of native waterfowl, licensed game hunters will be required to pass an official identification test of native waterfowl. The record of shooters killing protected bird species is woeful, yet the proposed legislation won't make any difference.
SOURCE:Bill's second reading in the NSW Legislative Council
Professional safari hunters, recreational hunters, sports shooters, or weekend warriors? This Bill would overturn all environmental legislation protecting our remaining wildlife in NSW. It is repugnant. This proposal is nothing to do with noble gesture of taking on the task of the government's culling feral animals in National Parks.
The Game Council in this self-interested set of demands, simply wants to give its weekend warrior member base open slather access to shoot almost anything and everything in the bush. It would be 24/7 open season on wildlife perpetually across NSW every day of the year. Every weekend would be weekend warrior party time in the ute with the spotties and the beers and the guns - just like in the good old days eh? In doing so, The Game Council and the Shooters Party have shown their true colours. The Game Council's objective is to provide for the effective management of 'introduced species' of game animals. By advocating the hunting and shooting of native animals and birds is outside its 'introduced species' charter.
According to Greens MP Ian Cohen, if feral animals are to be culled then "it should be managed by trained Livestock Health and Protection Authority officers." "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."
Fortunately, NSW Cabinet yesterday backed away from supporting the bill.