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Rees' 'red hot go' hunting in our National Parks

NSW Premier Rees is set to pass into law a 'Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009' to permit recreational hunters shooting everything and anything in protected National Parks across NSW including native wildlife.

Controlling feral animals is a science, not a sport. Rees' passion for sport is compromised by influential cronies and naivety. Problem is, Rees has no knowledge, experience in or aptitude for science. His inaugural 'red hot go' says it all and threatens to be his legacy.

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My letter to ALP Ministers (with an appropriate variation to media)

I am outraged at the Shooters Bill to shoot native animals in national parks. This bill needs to be thrown out in its entirety. This bill trashes our national parks, animal welfare, public safety, the democratic process and Labor's 'green' standing.

If you read the bill the Game Council itself will set quotas for all the native species listed, not the NPWS! OUR WILDLIFE IS BEING PRIVATISED. Our native species will effectively classified as game animals. There's no provision in the bill for the Game Council to provide the scientific evidence for setting quotas.

The next most dangerous part is opening up of national parks for 'game' hunting. Also you will be aware of private game reserves being set up for canned hunting. They will breed up animals and birds just for shooting and then shoot them in a confined space. Hunting dogs and bows and arrows are allowed. This exposes their lie about being "conservationists". They, as we know, merely shoot for the excitement of killing. National Parks would no longer be a safe refuge for native animals already encroached upon by humans.

Furthermore, it would be illegal to approach hunters to verify if they are licenced or illegal. Who would police these hunters? Can we trust them to identify endangered species? Won't their 4 wheel drives, lead bullets, 6 packs, trash and cigarette butts pollute remote ecosystems and potentially cause bushfires?

Australia has the world’s worst record for wildlife extinctions. Over 38% of our mammal species have been driven extinct since 1778. With politicians like Ian Macdonald trading our native animals for Shooting Party votes to privatise Lotto is it any wonder our species extinction rate climbs?

Anyone who wants to enjoy National Parks must now do so at their own risk. Tourists come to see our unique native animals and flora, not to dodge bullets and rednecks! The tranquillity of the natural world would be shattered by the sound of exploding guns hitting animals or whizzing past us. Are we going to stand by and let this madness unfold as our beautiful country turns into a hunters' paradise where nobody (human or non-human) feels safe any more?

I'm not sure if you and your fellow Ministers have any idea how powerful the feelings are in the community about the Shooters Party bill which Ian Macdonald has negotiated as part of a deal. The general public oppose hunting yet they have not been consulted.

It's a disgusting piece of legislation.

http://www.npansw.org.au/web/conservation/hunting_in_nps/hunting.htm

The price Labor will pay for this insidious deal will be devastating. I for one will not be voting Labor OR giving my preferences to them at the next election if this bill goes ahead!

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/greens-oppose-recreational-hunting-in-national-parks-20090611-c508.html

- a bill to allow hunting in National Parks - including native animals,
plus a scheme for the licensing of private game reserves (that is,
private land in which game animals are confined, or game birds are
released, for the purposes of being hunted by licensed game hunters who
have paid a fee to hunt on the reserve).

*Native animals that would be allowed to be hunted if this Bill gets
passed are:

KANGAROOS
Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
Euro (Macropus robustus)
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

DUCKS
Australian Shelduck (or Mountain Duck) (Tadorna tadornoides)
Australian Wood Duck (or Maned Duck) (Chenonetta jubata)
Black Duck (or Pacific Black Duck) (Anas superciliosa)
Blue-winged Shoveler (or Australasian Shoveler) (Anas rhynchotis)
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Grass Duck (or Plumed Whistling Duck) (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)
Hardhead Duck (or White-eyed Duck) (Aythya australia)
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)
Water Whistling Duck (or Wandering Whistling Duck, Whistling or
Wandering Tree Duck) (Dendrocygna arcuata)

QUAILS
Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora)
Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

OTHER BIRDS
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Common Bronzewing Pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera)
Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Straw Necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus)

Please throw this bill into the trash where it belongs.

Sincerely,
Menkit Prince

Ministerial addresses to write to (copy and paste into recipient space):

thepremier@www.nsw.gov.au (Nathan Rees)
dp.office@tebbutt.minister.nsw.gov.au (Carmel Tebbutt, Deputy Premier)
office@dellabosca.minister.nsw.gov.au (leader of gov in legisl. council)
office@hatzistergos.minister.nsw.gov.au (Attorney general)
enquiries@treasurer.nsw.gov.au (Treasurer)
david@campbell.minister.nsw.gov.au (transport)
office@firth.minister.nsw.gov.au (women, education)
office@keneally.minister.nsw.gov.au (planning)
joe@tripodi.minister.nsw.gov.au (finance)
macdonald.office@macdonald.minister.nsw.gov.au (Primary Industries)
linda.burney@parliament.nsw.gov.au (community services)
kevin.greene@parliament.nsw.gov.au> (gaming, racing, sport + rec)
office@lynch.minister.nsw.gov.au> (ageing, disability, aboriginal affairs)
office@perry.minister.nsw.gov.au (mental health)
west.office@west.minister.nsw.gov.au (Youth, veterans)
office@daley.minnister.nsw.gov.au (roads)
office@costa.minister.nsw.gov.au> (water, regional development)
office@judge.minister.nsw.gov.au> (fair trading, citizenship, Assisting Arts)
minister@borger.minister.nsw.gov.au (Housing)
office@mckay.minister.nsw.gov.au (tourism)
office@robertson.minister.nsw.gov.au (corrective services, public sector reform)
office@whan.minister.nsw.gov.au (emergency services, small business)

"It’s embarrassing for Australia that we eat our own wildlife ....I’m here to tell you it’s just not right. Simply do not buy, use or eat kangaroo products”
~ Steve Irwin
Sign http://www.gopetition.com/kangaroo-extinction.html

You seem to have got most of the facts right about the bill, but then put a radical animal liberation and discriminatory slant on them.

The NPWS are in charge of managing our National Parks and they should continue doing it. The Game Council are another government body the same as the NPWS, just that there expertise is in managing animal populations not parks. For that reason the GC should manage things such as permits to control problem animal populations using the same procedure to set numbers and permits as now. The NPWS will then have more time to concentrate on managing National Parks.

Your next part on opening up National Parks for hunting is misleading as it implies anyone will be able to hunt anywhere. The legislation only gives approval for the government to open an area in a National park if it sees an environmental benefit. The government still chooses when and where, and only Game Council licenced and trained hunters can participate.

Game reserves are another issue and are legal in all other states except NSW. The claims about these are also misleading as they are present in other states and have none of the claimed problems.

The reason it being illegal to approach hunters is that protesters have been interfering with people going about their legal business. It is to avoid situations such as in Victoria recently, where protesters stole legally shot ducks and interfered illegally with others. The safety issue was alresdy brought up before huting in State forests was started and all fears were unfounded. The same system of policing will be used as in NSW State Forests for the last 3 years. All hunters will book before hunting and are required to Carry the written permission at all times while hunting. Police, Game Council staff and NP rangers will have the right to check that written permission at any time. You then make many discriminating comments about hunters being unable to identify species and polluting the bush. It is unfounded discrimination like this that leads to racism.

If you are so concerned about the possibility of someone who had to book to go in the NP, and a record of them being there kept, possibly littering, how do you feel about bushwalkers being unregulated. Any of those bushwalkers could leave rubbish or light a fire and we would not even have a permanent record of them being there.

Lastly your last comment about Australia having the world’s worst record for wildlife extinctions. Over 38% of our mammal species have been driven extinct since 1778. This is indeed a terrible figure and the control of feral pests is the main way to prevent more extinctions. NPWS has had many years to try all methods of pest control and has achieved little. Don't you think it is time to try a holistic approach and allow community volunteers to become involved. That is what this bill will allow and I can only see benefit in removing feral pest animals from out National Parks.

Be clear, the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009, Schedule 3, Part 2 lists the following Australian native fauna as free 'game':

Native Ducks:
Australian Shelduck (or Mountain Duck) (Tadorna tadornoides)
Australian Wood Duck (or Maned Duck) (Chenonetta jubata)
Black Duck (or Pacific Black Duck) (Anas superciliosa)
Blue-winged Shoveler (or Australasian Shoveler) (Anas rhynchotis)
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Grass Duck (or Plumed Whistling Duck) (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)
Hardhead Duck (or White-eyed Duck) (Aythya australia)
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)
Water Whistling Duck (or Wandering Whistling Duck, Whistling or Wandering Tree Duck) (Dendrocygna arcuata)

Native Quails:
Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora)
Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

Native Birds:
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Common Bronzewing Pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera)
Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Straw Necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus)

Kangaroos:
Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
Euro (Macropus robustus)
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

If the proposed legislation is genuinely and solely to control feral animals, the NPWS must first answer these questions:

Why are native animals included amongst the ferals?
What action in fact has the NPWS undertaken over the last 20 years to control ferals in National Parks across NSW?
Which measures have been successful at dealing with the target species and which have not?
Which measures have caused a detrimental impact on non-target species?
What interstate or overseas model/case study does NPWS rely upon to justify why shooting is the preferred method of control?
What standard of identification test is imposed on would be feral shooters?
What standard of marksmanship is required and what NPWS-approval system would be in place?
What monitoring is to be conducted of these shooters and by whom?
What happens to the carcasses to prevent disease?

If NPWS was serious about controlling ferals it would have a permanent programme to specifically deal with the key threatening processes that involve ferals, namely to target:

1. Competition and grazing by the feral European rabbit
2. Competition and habitat degradation by feral goats
3. Herbivory and environmental degradation caused by feral deer
4. Predation by feral cats
5. Predation by the European Red Fox
6. Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by Feral Pigs
SOURCE: DEC, http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/pas_ktp.aspx

These species and these species only need to be the primary target. Professional contract shooting may be an option, but it is not for weekend warrriors.
The solution must be science based not sport based.

According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy "Australia has the worst mammal extinction record in the world – 27 mammals have become extinct in the last 200 years. No other country or continent has such a tragic record of mammal extinctions."

Stop hunting animals! If you are so excited by hunting, go to one of those duck hunting games !