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National Park rangers reject recreational hunting in parks

Park Rangers in NSW Public Service Association will take industrial action to show their lack of confidence in NSW Premier's backroom deal with shooters party to give them hunting access in our National Parks. This seems the right thing to do. The current government attitude to New South Wales's beautiful parks and indigenous animals seems unAustralian and somehow blasphemous, for these are our icons and Mother Nature's home. This foreshadowed desecration of our national parks is linked to deals to privatise NSW electricity. See also "Barry O'Farrell, NSW electricity privatisation and shooting in National Parks Australia"

Reluctant industrial action to protect wildlife and the public from unwise government policy

The NSW Public Service Association, which represents park rangers, has directed its members not to assist with any activity involved with establishing recreational hunting in national parks in NSW.

Members will also be asked to withhold information and their expert advice from Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker and other members of the NSW Coalition Government.

General Secretary John Cahill said the good work and safety of NSW National Parks staff would be placed at risk by the State Government’s backroom deal for hunting in parks

Serious risk to public safety

“Recreational shooting of pest animals in National Parks is an unproven, untested, expensive and unsafe activity, Mr Cahill said today.

“Opening the gate for recreational hunting in 79 national parks and other conservation areas in NSW poses a serious risk to the safety of park rangers, visitors, wildlife and the environment.

“Our park rangers should not have to work in fear for their own safety. Our members have expressed serious concerns about the danger to themselves and the community when shooting is allowed in bushland popular with walkers and picnickers.

Vested interests compromise Scientific programs, valuable data at risk

“Our members have been working very hard to control and manage feral animals in parks. Recreational shooting will compromise the professional and scientifically proven feral animal control programs run by national parks staff, placing native plants and animals at risk.

“This move is another shot across the bow of our national parks, with the Shooters and other vested interest groups clamouring for greater access at the expense of the environment and the people who look after them.

“Industrial action like this is not a decision we take lightly but we simply cannot let the State Government’s compromise of our National Parks to go ahead,” Mr Cahill said.

For decades now state governments have been withdrawing support from Australia's national and regional parks. These rangers' numbers have been whittled down. They have been forced to submit to arcane bean-counting exercises and to focus on attracting tourists rather than protecting and studying the wildlife and vegetation in these wild spaces. They risk their livelihoods by expressing these educated views in a system that simply does not play fair with rank and file workers, especially when they are isolated from each other. Natural science has so much to enrich our society but it is a victim of corrupt political processes in our society where land-use is increasingly dominated by a growth lobby that knows the price of everything but the value of nothing, and has no respect for democracy.

Contact: John Cahill 0419 413 577 / Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Source: Media Release,
Friday, 1 June 2012

See also: Not in Our Parks of 5 June in the Glen Innes Examiner, Riled rangers target national park hunts of 5 June in the Western Advocate, Hunters and objectors of 5 June in the Central Western Daily.

Comments

The recreational shooting of native waterbirds was banned in NSW by Labor Premier Bob Carr in 1995.

But there is disturbing news coming from NSW. The Game Council and Shooters Party of NSW are pushing for a return of a new model of duck and quail shooting - even though the Liberal O'Farrell Government had originally opposed any return of a duck shooting season.

In order to push legislation through to privatise electricity companies, O'Farrell's government needed the Shooters' Party votes in the Upper House. In exchange the Shooters' Party want a return of duck shooting seasons and to be able to shoot introduced species in National Parks.

This poses an enormous problem for tourists and any members of the public wanting to use National Parks. (In late 2010 a school teacher was shot and killed in a Conservation Park in New Zealand, while cleaning her teeth. The shooter claimed he mistook her for a deer. In Victoria some years ago another deer shooter shot a youth who was walking his dog - a similar mistake).

Of course once allowed into National Parks shooters will also be shooting native wildlife.

Please take five minutes to write a letter to the editor, expressing your strong opposition to hunting in national parks.

Key points to consider including in your letter:

- I am dismayed that the Premier has broken his promise on hunting in national parks.

- I am strongly opposed to hunting in national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.

- Hunting by recreational shooters in national parks presents very real risks to public safety, and is not a proven method for eradicating feral animals.

The Premier must take urgent action to restore his government's credibility on environmental matters.

Please follow up your letter with an email or letter to the Premier's office:

Premier Barry O'Farrell, GPO Box 5341 , Sydney NSW 2001

Email: premier@nsw.gov.au