The public benefits of hunting have increased dramatically after an unprecedented commitment by conservation hunters, who culled almost 1.25 million feral and game animals from NSW land last year.
“Just imagine how many more pigs, rabbits and foxes would be impacting our farmers and natural areas if it weren’t for the voluntary efforts of these hunters,” NSW Game Council chairman John Mumford said.
The figures were revealed yesterday in the latest annual public benefit assessment (PBA) into the Game Council, and they are a welcome bit of positive news about the embattled organisation as the government prepares to release a report into its governance and anti-hunting forces continue to attack it.
“In 2012/13 we have seen an unprecedented jump of almost 25% in benefit to the NSW community as a direct result of licensed hunting under Game Council; an increase that can only benefit our farmers, regional economies and native flora and fauna,” Mr Mumford said.
The report detailed tens of millions of dollars in direct and indirect benefits to the NSW economy, particularly in regional areas, and showed the activity of hunters with Game Council licences contributed directly or indirectly to the employment of 1590 people.
Mr Mumford said these figures proved the Game Council’s benefits to the community and economy “far outweigh its costs”.
Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who wants the Game Council shut down, recently condemned the NSW government for increasing the council’s budget by $1.7 million, but the PBA reports the Game Council provides NSW with $2.64 in benefits for every $1 it costs.
In 2012/13 this included more than $3.8m in total economic benefits, over $1.6m in social benefits and almost $1.3m in environmental benefits after the NSW taxpayer put less than $2.6m into the Game Council.
The broader value of hunting in NSW under the Game Council system was almost $80m, and hunters spend $114m on their sport.
A rise of up to 20% in the number of licence holders and a massive increase in animals culled were the two main factors in the 25% boost in overall benefits.
“The increase in animals harvested is a real highlight,” Mr Mumford said. “This year alone there was a 30% increase in animals removed from public land, up to 21,000. On private land, a staggering 1,230,000 animals were estimated to be removed by our hunters, an increase of over 67%.
“This level of commitment from our hunters is unprecedented.”
Read the full PBA report on the Game Council website.