HuntFest 2014 is under fire from The Greens in the Eurobodalla Shire with one launching a media campaign encouraging people to oppose the display of firearms at the event.
Eurobodalla Shire Council Greens representative Gabi Harding has put out a media release stirring up anti-gun sentiment with emotive language in which she describes a hunting simulator as “killing games”.
This follows an advertisement that has been placed in the region’s newspapers that reads: “Nature Coast or Hunting Coast. The Huntfest organisers want to include firearms as part of their 2014 event in Narooma. Council will consider this request on 10 December. Contact your local councillors today to say NO TO GUNS in Eurobodalla.”
“The Huntfest organisers have written to the Council seeking permission to have guns on display at their 2014 event,” Cr Harding wrote in her media release.
“Council is due to consider this request at its meeting on 10 December, to meet an unreasonably tight decision deadline set by Huntfest organisers.
“It is proposed that the 2014 Huntfest feature the newest types of firearms, as well as interactive killing games.
“The Eurobodalla’s image and reputation as a haven for wildlife and showcase for nature’s wonders is at serious risk if we promote this type of event. The argument that it brings visitors to the shire is undermined by the likelihood that it will keep many others away.
“Moreover, the display of firearms is clearly only a step along the way towards their actual use at future Huntfests – the thin end of the wedge. And the further we go down this path, the more we will trash our ‘nature coast’ image. What will that do for business?
“Even more important, however, is the issue of our values as a community. My strong impression is that local residents are appalled at the idea of promoting a gun culture.
“At the very least, I would like to see Council’s decision delayed until early in the New Year, to allow for a proper community discussion on this significant issue. Given that the matter is currently on Council’s agenda for 10 December, however, people need to act quickly to make their views known,” Cr Harding said.
In response, South Coast Hunters Club president Dan Field said in the local media that HuntFest was applying for a firearms display but it had been in councillors papers for a month, as opposed to Cr Harding’s claim that it was an unreasonably tight deadline.
In a report that appears in the Bay Post, Mr Field is said to have taken exception to Cr Harding labelling the interactive component of the festival as “killing games”.
“If she thinks this is bad, she should take a look at the video games that kids are playing in their own lounge rooms where they are killing or blowing up people,” Mr Field said.
He also described the claim that firearms would be discharged at the event as “ludicrous”.
For those who want to contact a councillor to pass on your views ahead of the December discussion, Cr Harding’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.