Worth fighting for
Intense public opposition to hunting in national parks continues through rolling public protests. Many are joining these protests and most are commited to doggedly pursuing the NSW Government over this appauling decision.
The Shooters and Fishers Party and the NSW Government have miscalculated. The consequences of opening up national parks to hunting are dire. Hunting in national parks cannot be tolerated.
It's not that the Opposition is a clean skin. They set up the Game Council and spent of $5.6 million of taxpayers money on the Southern Highland Shooting Complex beside the Nattai Wilderness. As a result, 1000 hectares of World Heritage quality parkland was revoked and a large chunk was destroyed (below).
What has happened is that there are 817 parks and reserves that can be declared as hunting areas - that's 95% of all reserves.
Andrew Cox, President of the Invasive Species Council says that the new law will prevent protesters and even rangers from approaching or interfering with shooters, even if hunters are not following the rules; foster the spread of feral animals into parks including new pest species such as exotic birds; threaten the safety of visitors and park workers; further compromise animal welfare; and erode nature-based national park management and wildlife conservation.
Hunters have shot up a sign on the Six Foot Track, are already hunting in parks and have put up signs threating to hunt rangers.
Ian Brown, a former national park ranger and manager for 20 years, believes that the Public Service Association's opposition to hunting in national parks is well founded:
The rangers know that organising and supervising such programs will waste plenty of their time. That ground shooting plays a tiny part in a very few feral control programs, because it doesn't work. That hunting will be ineffectual, scattering the animals and fiddling about the edges when at least a 60% population reduction is needed. That many of the listed parks have no substantial feral populations to hunt, so more illegal releases are inevitable. Most of all, they know this is a stupid political fix foisted on them by people who don't care about conservation and politicians who have no vision. The precious natural heritage they have dedicated their working lives to protecting is being cynically used as just another poker chip.
The Shooters and Fishers Party does not really want to be involved in supervised conservation programs. If they did, they could have volunteered already, just like hundreds of bush regenerators, weeders, bushwalkers, tree-planters and 4WDers do. They want open slather hunting, just like the Labor Party stupidly gave them in State Forests. The Shooters will not rest until they get it, and now their tactics have been rewarded it is closer than ever. This is how the National Rifle Association in USA built their political power.
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