In an ironic twist, the defunct NSW Game Council has had its budget increased by more than $15 milion by its arch enemy, the Greens.
However, the increase is not a belated act of generosity by the anti-hunting, anti-gun political party, but looks more like a cynical grab for cash to suit their political agenda.
After complaining that the council’s budget has been increased by $1.7 million to $4.35m just before the O’Farrell Government put the boot into the statutory body, the Greens are trying to have a say in where the “$20 million budget of the Game Council” should be spent.
Greens MLCs David Shoebridge and Mehreen Faruqi have demanded that money be used for professional pest management as well as funding research into humane pest control methods.
They did not explain where the figure of $20m came from, but it appears to be an example of creative accounting by the Greens, using the combined amount that was to be allocated to both the Game Council and NPWS for the implementation of the national parks hunting program.
Of that, approximately $8m was to be used by the Game Council and around $11m by the NPWS.
Now that the Game Council is gone, an argument has broken out between the NPWS and the Department of Primary Industries over who should get the full $20m.
With the DPI assuming many of the responsibilities previously handled by the Game Council, many expected it would receive the majority of the $8m portion, but the NPWS wants the full amount.
Treasury officials have told the NPWS and DPI that they must submit new proposals if they expect to receive any of the funds.
Most of the Game Council’s allocated 2013/14 budget of $4.35m, which includes income from government, licence fees and other sources, will be diverted to the DPI as it takes over not just many of the council’s previous duties but, in all likelihood, its staff.
There is no word on whether the proposed Game Board, which will take on the Game Council’s advisory, advocacy and related roles, would be allocated any of the 2013/14 budget funds or a portion of the parks hunting money.