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NSW Shooter Bill meeting last night in Pymble (25-8-09)

Article written by Robyn

Even though it wasn't held in a conveniently located venue/time, the meeting was jam packed. Both pro/con were represented in the audience and they were lively, but mostly well behaved. It should be emphatically noted that every member of the NSW govt refused to attend or be on the speakers panel.

Laurie Levy raised frightening concerns

Laurie Levy (Hon Activist), fresh in from VIC, spoke first. His compelling story wove strong and very frightening parallels through many concerns regarding the Shooters Bill. He was also the first of several speakers to bring up the dark side of the FGA & GC (Field & Game Australia & Game Council).

Most recently and during severe drought, FGA was convicted of stealing water from the Latrobe River and diverting it into their private shooting property to attract water birds and duck season could then commence:

97% of hunters choose not to join the Shooters' Party

Next up, Catherine Cusack (Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability) noted that 97% of all hunters choose not to join the Shooters' Party. She gave a number of examples of the Shooter's Party also threatening past govt (Bob Carr and John Howard to name two). She was a good speaker, but she spoke so quickly that I couldn't note down half of what she said (sorry). I did catch that 3.5 million tax-payer dollars goes to the Game Council (GC).

History shows hunting does not controlled feral animals

Dr. Carol Booth (Invasive Species Council, filling in for Dr. Tony Peacock), began by saying, "Good Morning". She wasn't confused about the time of day, but she said felt she was in a parallel universe when dealing with the Shooter's Party, especially since they bill themselves as conservationist. She said we need to heed the lessons of history because using hunters for "feral" animal control has never worked and is actually a conflict of interest.

Hunters need to maintain the opportunity to hunt so they leave breeding females, and they focus killing only male trophy animals. They also are restricted to hunting during daylight hours, and that 'ferals' are fecund and mobile which makes ground hunting the least effective method for control.

Danger of introducing new species for hunting

But, she felt the most dangerous aspect of the bill was the introduction of new species for hunting. (I'll jump ahead and note that Robert Brown's rebuttal was that the new species would be behind wire).

Shooters' Party Member seems out of touch

Robert Brown (MLC, Shooter's Party) started by saying he had history on his side. He went though specific items in the bill, explaining points he felt were most relevant. But (as illustrated by his above comment regarding new introduced species), he seriously just doesn't appear to "get it' at all.

Lee Rhiannon NSW Greens: Why so much public money to promote private party with less than 3% of vote?

Lee Rhiannon (MLC, NSW Greens) was a dynamo. She began by asking why so much public money is used to promote a private party with less than 3% of the vote. She illustrated a number of times how both Labour and Opposition have been long-time mates with the Shooters and have lobbied and traded back-room deals for many years.

Many letters against the bill - some points for even better letters

Of special note to all letter writers: within days of the June introduction of this bill, over 1000 letters hit the Green's and other government offices, which had an enormous impact according to Hon Rhiannon. She urged us to keep writing and gave some salient points to send to both the Premier and local members:

1) First, the GC should go away. They've blown through millions of public dollars in 18 months and this was public funding designed to last 10 years. They've now asked for additional funds, plus raised their budget by 30%. Also note, they've never been able to control 'ferals' and have never become self-sufficient as Ian McDonald promised they would. This money could be better and more responsibility spent.

2) Keep to "No Shooting in NP". Period. No exceptions.

3) Keep to "No commercialisation in NP"; keep them low impact and not tourist-theme parks.

4) Request the Upper House quit their deal-making and debate on merit only.

I'm sure I've left out heaps, but this is all I have time for right now.

h3>Why so much public money for unpopular game council and nothing for selfless wildlife carers?

Please note that one of the audience speakers at the end asked why so much public money was supporting gun lobbyist and private parties when native animal carers couldn't even get a tax break on self-funded care. She got the largest "whoop-whoop" applause of anyone. I'm certainly including this strong suggestion in my letter on where to better place public funds.
Please write if you can, continue to write if you can, and/or attend a meeting if you can.

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I attended the meeting and represented one of the pro-hunting members of the audience which supported the shooters party bill - isn't democracy wonderful!
The turnout were predominantly 'anti' the bill , though I'm convinced all who attended were motivated by their environmental consience which is great to see.
I believe however that the above comment that the Hon. Robert Brown (shooters Party) seemed "out of touch" is a little harsh considering the evening was formatted around a pre-ordaned outcome with five speakers aginst the bill and one for the bill. Although most (on both sides) were well behaved and respectful on the night Mr. Brown's attempts to explain his bill were repeatedly hindered by the less courteous. The limited (15min) question time where anyone who asked a question in favour of conservation hunting were rudley interupted (as I was) with no intervention from the chair was hardly conducive to a fair debate.
There are reasonable arguments to counteract everything that was said against the bill at the meeting that were not given the opportunity. I'm some of them could be addressed sensibly in this forum.
Jeff Borg.

Jeff, your feedback on this apparent Pymble meeting is concerning because it suggests a failure to debate the issues and perceived biases. I am not in favour of shooting native animals and not shooting in National Parks by game hunters, but I defend your right to be heard and debate your view.

Again, I return to the facts. The core issue is The Bill - stick to that. What was the meeting? If it was public there ought to have been a publicly available agenda and minutes, else without these records it has no legitimacy and counts no more than a talk fest that may as well been staged at the local pub after a few ambers.

Present these facts on CanDoBetter or with a source link to subtantiate your message, otherwise it's all hearsay and innuendo, which does not add to the debate.

My key message to this debate is that the Bill is inappropriate because it advocates shooting Australian native wildlife, which is contrary to the supposed aim of The Bill to control feral animals, contrary to environmental legislation and immoral.

I am not completely opposed to shooting ferals but there needs to be justification case presented. DECC would need to present such a case, since it is the authority charged with feral animal control. Recreational hunting must be excluded from what is a professional task of disciplined experienced marksman operating under direct DECC supervision with quality controls and animal welfare rules. Cowboys banned.

The flaw of this Bill is that it was trying for a one off grab at everything and was too greedy. It thus attracted the wrath of not just environmentalists but anyone valuing National Parks and our wildlife.

"Present these facts on CanDoBetter or with a source link to subtantiate your message, otherwise it's all hearsay and innuendo, which does not add to the debate."

If you want a copy of the minutes of the meeting, You can be my guest at chasing that one up. I dare say that minutes may not have even been taken. Anyhow, I simply made a diplomatic observation of the meeting's structure and intent. If you disagree that's fine with me.

As for your thoughts on shooting Australian wildlife , this is something I disagree with also. Sustainable use of wildlife is historically the most effective conservation tool in the world. The North American's for example can boast at how hunting injects US$200million a year into wildlife projects (through hunting excises and taxes) and how under the management of hunting organisations for each species has resulted in exponential increases of game animal populations. Remember that I'm referring to species which are NATIVE to the USA and HUNTED such as the Canada goose, whitetail deer, elk (wapiti), pronghorn antelope and wild turkey and in all cases have enjoyed population increases of incredible proportions from levels in the early 1900's. This information can be accessed by the way, through the US fish and Wildlife service website or simply google "Americas Un- endangered species" and pick a link. If you're not impressed then conservation is not one of your interests.

The above suggests that feral animal control is only one facet of the bill. The bill in it's entirety is a holistic approach to the management of Australian wildlife (native and indigenous) and while it may seem impalitable for some to digest in one hit, it's ideas are ALL scientifically based and it makes perfect sense to combine all issues at once.

Remember that the original concept of National Parks was invented by hunters (Roosevelt , Krueger etc.) as were the very foundation of the world's first conservation programs (Aldo Leopold). Hunters do not detach themselves from the natural world and conservation is seated at the very core of hunting ethos.
If you care to ask a specific question about something in the bill, once again - be my guest , I will certainly find you the related reference. However I do have a day job.

Outside of Australia, in fact outside of NSW "Conservation Hunting" has proven that it isn't such a Paradigm.

Jeff Borg

(Tigerquoll) Recreational hunting must be excluded from what is a professional task of disciplined experienced marksman operating under direct DECC supervision with quality controls and animal welfare rules.

What like the ones that handled the Guy Fawkes brumby cull or the NPWS friend of mine who used to do the chopper culls on deer at the rate of 3 deer every 4 hours at a cost of $1600 per hour.
These marksman can be provided under the same supervision at no expense to the taxpayer, that is one of the issues the bill addresses.

Theres nothing unprofessional, undisciplined or inexperienced about myself or other people I hunt with who would give of their time for the chance to take home meat that would otherwise be left to rot in the bush.

The culls are done regardless, why be wastefull too?