MEDIA RELEASE 22 june 2012
Park users and managers are holding a rally at midday next Wednesday outside Thomas George’s office in Lismore to protest legislation rammed through parliament last night that allows recreational shooting in 96% of the northern rivers national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.
The Bill was passed by the Legislative Council on Thursday morning and then introduced into the Legislative Assembly for concurrence by the Minister for Primary Industry, Katrina Hodgkinson, where standing orders were suspended to allow the bill to be rammed through to become the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Act 2012.
The Act enables the Minister for Environment to make national park estate land available for the hunting of game animals by recreational hunters. The Act precludes recreational hunting in 48 reserves near Sydney, declared World Heritage properties and declared wilderness areas.
Dailan Pugh of the North East Forest Alliance said:
“The Act makes 107 of the 112 national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas in the northern rivers electorates of Tweed, Ballina, Lismore and Clarence available for amateur hunting. This includes 190,000 hectares within 27 reserves that was identified by State and Federal Governments as qualifying for World Heritage Listing.
“These parks are used by over 4.1 million visitors a year, are important for local recreation and essential mainstays of the tourism industry.
“We have invited our local members to address the rally and explain why they have made 107 of our reserves available for recreational shooting when Premier O’Farrell claimed that it would only be four”.
Ruth Rosenhek, rally organiser and director of Rainforest Information Centre, said:
“National Parks are set aside not only for conservation but for public appreciation and enjoyment. As one who once crossed paths with two hunters who mistook me for a deer in a state forest in the US, I strongly urge the government to keep National Parks safe and welcoming for families, children and individuals to walk, camp, bird watch and connect with nature.”
Public Service Association (PSA) Industrial Officer Geo Papas said.
“The NSW government has declared open season on the safety of park rangers, national park staff, visitors, native wildlife and the environment. This legislation goes much further than the Government’s initial announcement – it has left the door open for recreational hunting in all but 48 of our 799 national parks. Our members and the union condemn this legislation”
Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said:
“Communities close to the parks that will now be entertainment for recreational hunters are extremely concerned.
“What makes this deal even worse is that recreational ground shooting is recognised by feral species experts as completely ineffective at eradicating species.
‘It’s disgraceful that Barry O’Farrell has sold off public safety, the environment, animal welfare and native wildlife to the extreme demands of the Shooters Party.”
FOR COMMENT: Ruth Rosenhek 0459 362 357, Dailan Pugh 66 807063, Geo Papas 02 9220 0948, Cate Faehrmann 0433 005 727