The Greens have confirmed their intention to completely ban recreational hunting on public land in NSW after claiming victory over the abolition of the Game Council.
“We did it,” Greens MPs David Shoebridge and Mehreen Faruqi said yesterday in a joint statement congratulating their supporters on the end of the Game Council, the suspension of hunting on public land and the O’Farrell Government’s backdown on allowing recreational hunting in national parks.
“This decision follows a decade-long campaign by the Greens, by animal welfare and environment groups, and by thousands of dedicated campaigners like you,” they said.
“We will be maintaining pressure on the government to completely ban unsupervised amateur hunting on public land in NSW.”
They also wanted the council’s “$20 million budget” redirected to “professional pest control programs and further research into humane pest-control”, but it’s not clear where they got this figure. The Game Council’s annual budget for this year was to be just $4.35 million.
Meanwhile, the Shooters and Fishers Party have confirmed their “gentleman’s agreement” with the O’Farrell Government is over.
“The Shooters and Fishers Party has always made the open public assertion that we’ll support the government of the day, only in so far as they continue to look after, or shall I say not to harass or not to try and legislate against the interests our constituents,” S&F MLC Robert Brown told the ABC.
“What happened the other day was clearly not in the interests of our constituents.”
Mr Brown has also praised the Game Council and defended its position regarding the governance issues identified in the Dunn Report.
He said the council was not given adequate funds and had been refused access to the Department of Primary Industries intranet, where relevant policies and other resources were kept.
“That state forest program is just incredible,” he said in the ABC interview. “It’s exemplary. There’s been no issues of safety or anything like that. It’s been running for seven years and there was no need to interfere with it, the way the government did.”
The Greens say there “are still opportunities for the gun lobby to reopen national parks and state forests to unsupervised recreational hunters” and are continuing their campaign to “completely close the door on recreational hunting and shooting in our parks and forests”.