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Barry O'Farrell, NSW electricity privatisation and shooting in National Parks Australia

Electricity privatisation continues to cause bizarre consequences as yet another State Premier will apparently do anything to push it through, despite almost total lack of electoral support. See our history of attempts to privatise electricity in NSW. It reads like a war on democracy. Now that war is against the State's wildlife. During his first week in government, the NSW Premier, Barry O`Farrell, made a strong promise to environment groups and the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks. Now he has done a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party so that they will support his electricity privatisation bill. Shame on Barry, Shame on the Shooters and Fishers who many see as just another front for the Libs in NSW, posing as another party.

Barry O'Farrell gunning down democracy

The Premier of NSW has today broken a pre-election promise to keep recreational shooting out of our National Parks. He has announced that the government will be opening up 34 National Parks, 31 Nature Reserves and 14 State Conservation Areas across the state to recreational hunters.

During his first week in government, the Premier made a strong promise to environment groups and the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks. Now he has done a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party so that they will support his electricity privatisation bill.

National Parks are for the protection of nature and for the enjoyment of the NSW public, not for blood sport. This decision by the government shows complete disregard for public safety and for the purpose of our National Park system.

The government is ‘greenwashing’ this deal as a way of managing feral animals, but control of feral animals is best achieved by professionals, not by sporting hunters.

If you are as horrified about this as we are, please take a few quick actions:

1) Give your local member a call today and tell them how you feel about this appalling decision. You can follow this link to look up your local MP's contact details.

2) Visit the SMH website and vote in their poll against shooting in national parks. (Poll closes at midnight 31 May.)

3) If you have time, please write a letter to editor (either of your local paper or one of the State-wide papers), and/or make a call to talkback radio about this issue.

4) Comment below this article.

The National Parks Association of New South Wales (NPA) has a number of key concerns about this decision:

1) The purpose of National Parks is to protect the environment and allow the quiet enjoyment of nature, not for blood sports.

2) This decision poses a huge risk to the safety of the public, who just want to bushwalk, have a picnic or enjoy nature with their families.

3) Control of feral animals should be left to the professionals. Recreational hunting is not an efficient or cost-effective tool for feral animal control in National Parks, and may have serious impacts on our native wildlife.

4) This is a major betrayal of the public by the Premier, who has consistently promised that there will be no recreational hunting in National Parks. It is completely unacceptable for our protected areas to be used as a pawn in a political trade-off.

See below for a list of parks that the government proposes to open up for shooting.

The website of the Invasive Species Council has more information about why so called 'conservation hunting' by amateur hunters is not an effective means of controlling feral animals.

"The NSW and Victorian governments have been funding recreational hunting and opening access to public lands on the basis that hunters can control feral animals.

But evidence (including the failure of numerous bounties) shows that, at best, hunters can supplement more effective methods of feral animal control or provide control in small, accessible areas.

Funding recreational hunting as a primary method of control is a waste of taxpayers’ money. There is also the risk that opening up public lands to hunting creates an incentive for maverick hunters to shift feral animals into new areas – as has occurred particularly with pigs and deer.

The Invasive Species Council has been working with other environment groups to oppose the NSW Shooters Party legislation to expand hunting into national parks, allow private hunting reserves, and permit the release of exotic birds rated as a serious or extreme pest threat by Australian governments."

More information at National Parks Association of New South Wales.

Affected National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas

The government is proposing to immediately consider opening the following National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas up for shooting.

National Parks 

Central NSW

Abercrombie River National Park

Turon National Park

Coolah Tops National Park

Warrumbungle National Park

Goulburn River National Park


New England Tablelands

Bald Rock National Park

Nowendoc National Park

Basket Swamp National Park

Piliga East National Park

Boonoo National Park

Piliga West National Park

Gibraltar Range National Park

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

South Coast and Highlands

Benambra National Park

Tallaganda National Park

Brindabella National Park

Woomargama National Park

Kosciuszko National Park (excluding ski fields)

Morton National Park

Wadbilliga National Park

South East Forests National Park

Outback NSW

Goonoo National Park

Paroo-Darling National Park

Gundabooka National Park

Yanga National Park

Mallee Cliffs National Park

Murray Valley National Park

Northern Rivers

Yabbra National Park

Nightcap National Park

Richmond Range National Park


Hunter/Mid North Coast

Dorrigo National Park

Watagans National Park

Myall Lakes National Park

Barrington Tops National Park

Nature Reserves

Central NSW

Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve

Pilliga Nature Reserve


New England Tablelands

Gibraltar Nature Reserve


Outback NSW

Big Bush Nature Reserve

Lake Urana Nature Reserve

Boginderra Hills Nature Reserve

Langtree Nature Reserve

Buddigower Nature Reserve

Ledknapper Nature Reserve

Cocopara Nature Reserve

Loughnan Nature Reserve

Coolbadggie Nature Reserve

Narrandera Nature Reserve

Goonawarra Nature Reserve

Nearie Lake Nature Reserve

Gubbata Nature Reserve

Nocoleche Nature Reserve

Ingalba Nature Reserve

Nombinnie Nature Reserve

Jerilderie Nature Reserve

Piliga Nature Reserve

Kajuligah Nature Reserve

Pucawan Nature Reserve

Kemendok Nature Reserve

Pulletop Nature Reserve

Round Hill Nature Reserve

Quanda Nature Reserve


Tarawi Nature Reserve

Yanga Nature Reserve

The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve

Yathong Nature Reserve

State Conservation Areas

Central NSW

Mullion Range SCA

Mount Canobolas SCA

Hunter/ Mid North Coast

Barrington Tops SCA


New England Tablelands

Butterleaf SCA

Torrington SCA

Cataract SCA

Watsons Creek SCA

Mount Hyland SCA

Werrikimbe SCA

Outback NSW

Goonoon SCA

Paroo-Darling SCA

Gundabooka SCA

Yanga SCA

Nombinnie SCA



Source: Kirstin Proft
Biodiversity Conservation Officer
National Parks Association of NSW
PO Box 337 | Newtown 2042 | New South Wales
T 02 9299 0000 |
W | E
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Our wildlife has hardly any safe refuge now. Birds will flee in terror at the deafening sound of guns exploding and shattering the once pristine silence. Non-target native animals will be shot and killed by speeding bullets. Gone will be the peace of our fauna's paradise to be replaced with trashy humans littering Gondwanana land with lead bullets and their rubbish as they trample ever more threatened fauna, spreading seeds feral weed seeds.

Who will police these hunters to make sure they are in fact all licenced, following the guidelines and not causing inhumane suffering to animals, and most importantly, not shooting the wrong type of animal? The answer is nobody will - they will police themselves! That's right, the fox is guarding the hen house which means our national parks, nature reserves and State Conservation areas will become hoons' paradise to enter anytime day or night and shoot whatever, however. NPWS is already overworked and understaffed - same with the police force.

Who will be liable for the first human killed by a bullet in a national park while hiking, camping, picnicking?

Will it be a child, a pregnant woman or an overseas tourist?

Is a $3 billion deal worth sacrificing a $35 billion international tourism industry?

Barry O'Farrell should be up for charges of manslaughter. Unfortunately we have to wait for people to die before anything will change ..... that's why he needs to be implicated now, ahead of time.

We operate a professional goat mustering business that provides a contracted professional service to some NSW National Parks mentioned on the list of National Parks and Reserve areas Barry O'Farrell has decided to open up to Sporting Shooters. This decision is bad at every level. How is this decision going to benefit NPWS? Answer it is not! No matter what spin can be written or said. There is no way volunteer hunters can be policed and there is no way they should be trusted. Each Park and Reserve area covers hundreds of acres and when no one is watching people with guns and pig dogs can do what they like. What will happen if someone gets shot? What is going to happen when we are conducting mustering activities and come across a shooter that does not see us, or we don't see them? Is Barry O'Farrell going to be responsible for closing existing control measures that actually work to focus on keeping the Shooters Party happy? If so he must understand this decision is going to effect jobs - ours, truck drivers, meat processors, park staff, yards men.... We pay a royalty to the OEH from our Goat Sales and this should be used to aid our consulted feral goat management program. We make money for Parks - How are the volunteer shooters going to do this? Answer they won't - they will only cost, cost, cost! and with no real positive results. Leave the Feral Animal Control to the Professionals.

Can Barry O'Farrell or the Shooters Party exclude shooting goats as they are a valuable commodity? - in fact they are the most consumed meat in the world and Australia exports most of what it produces. Our business supplies goats for this export market and the cost of this ill considered decision is going to traumatise and damage an industry that works to provide food for the world and turn a pest animal into a viable commodity. Goats have provided a valuable income for people in the Western Districts keeping some pastoralists afloat during the drought. Feral Goats should not be allowed to be shot by volunteer shooters and should be excluded for this reason. We already have goats controlled in the parks which we operate on and don't need way ward hunters coming along and stirring everything up. All they will do is cause the goats to move to another area and return when they are gone. Not helping the cause at all. Goats are very smart animals and I don't agree that this decision will have any real measured benefits.

Hunters are going to create a lot of extra work both in the field and in the office. Park Staff do not need this extra work. Is there a budget for this to work appropriately? If so I feel this money could be better spent on aiding our existing program - provided experts like us are consulted to help direct funds to be used appropriately. Allowing Recreational Shooters to come onto NP and Reserve areas is going against the reasons why we have them - to protect native species. Can someone out there help us? Can we get this ill considered idea and political back flip stopped? Please help to stop this!

Gennie-Anne Woodall
Simwood Holdings Pty Ltd
Bollon QLD

This Thursday at 11.00AM, NSW Parliament House. Please, come to support the wildlife and rangers and your PARKS!