A survey by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage shows the campaign against hunting in national parks is a hollow one with no serious support at all.
Only 1% of people are concerned about hunting in national parks, according to the survey into people’s environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.
The result completely undermines the ‘moral majority’ being claimed by the Greens, Public Service Association, National Parks Association and other hunting opponents.
The survey’s findings come in spite of all the negative publicity and campaigning since hunting was first mooted in national parks, and the controversy over the passing of legislation introduced by the Shooters and Fishers Party.
The subject of “shooting in national parks”, as the survey phrased it, did not rate a mention in the previous survey, conducted in 2009, and in 2012 it had only risen to 1% of respondents.
Shooting was included under the general topic of vegetation and biodiversity in the 2012 survey, and the fact that it was “new to the agenda” was one factor in lifting vegetation and biodiversity to the top of the list of overall concerns.
Shooting came up in answer to only one unprompted question in the survey: “What would you say is the single most important thing that the NSW Government could do to protect and look after the environment over the next few years?”
A number of individual concerns were four times more important to respondents than shooting, including “increase enforcement – enforce laws more strictly”, a topic that is as applicable to regulated hunting as it is to any other use of parks.
Shooting was mentioned only once in text and once in a table in the entire OEH report on the survey; the report ran to over 100 pages.
The survey also indicates that shooting in national parks is even less of an issue in the broader picture of community issues, with six other matters, from health to ‘other social issues’ being of more concern to people than ‘environment/environmental issues’.
The survey was based on telephone calls to over 2000 NSW residents, as well as nine group discussions.
Recent well-publicised rallies against hunting have attracted no more than an estimated 200 people, and often fewer, even in ‘hot spot’ areas such as the NSW South Coast.