Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Dangers ahead for the future of national parks

National Parks Association of NSW
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
The Colong Foundation for wilderness Ltd
Wildlife Information and Rescue Service
Total Environment Centre
The Wilderness Society

The amended Game and Feral Animal Act provides enormous dangers for the future of the State's national parks, according to a coalition of environment animal welfare organisations.

“The new legislation goes much further than the Government’s initial announcement – only 48 of our 799 national parks will be truly off limits to recreational hunting,” said Kevin Evans, CEO of the National Parks Association.

“Shooters are now in control of our national parks. Under the new legislation, the authority of rangers is diminished. They will have no power to prevent shooters acting illegally and will not even be able to approach shooters hunting in accordance with a game hunting licence,” Mr Evans said.

“It's no wonder rangers fear for their own safety under these new arrangements,” said Pepe Clarke, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

“Feral animals are not confined to national parks, they are a serious problem across the entire continent and urgently need an integrated scientific approach to control using monitored, humane methods,” Mr Clarke said.

Premier Barry O'Farrell’s claim that recreational hunting into our national parks is a logical extension of an existing policy is just spin. NPWS staff are qualified to eradicate feral animals. With further resources they could do this job even more effectively without the help of so called “conservation hunters,” said Keith Muir, Director of the Colong for Wilderness.

“These are people who wanted the right to enter our national parks with high powered and automatic weapons,” said Leanne Taylor, General Manager of WIRES.

“This law entrenches the shooters' model of “conservation” and pest management in national parks when it is really just game hunting, green washed to introduce a lethal, gun-toting change of culture to the state,” She said.

Amateurs don’t have the skills to eradicate pests and their motivation is to see pest numbers increase, so that there is game to hunt,” said Belinda Fairbrother, Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society.

“When the Government is again threatened with not being able pass legislation in the Upper House, the shooters demands will only increase,” said Jeff Angel Executive Director of the Total Environment Centre.

The decision to allow recreational hunting in national parks program may well haunt the Premier for the rest of his political career. Encouraged by their success, the Shooters and Fishers Party will increase their demands for more hunting opportunities and deregulation of gun ownership”, he said.

“The NSW government has today declared open season on the safety of park rangers, national park staff, visitors, native wildlife and the environment,” said John Cahill, General Secretary of the Public Service Association of NSW.

“We will defend our national parks and the public's right to the peaceful enjoyment of them,” Mr Evans said.

Media enquires: Kevin Evans 0457 797 977