Hunters in NSW may get more opportunities to hunt on public lands if multiple-use models are adopted.

Hope for hunters in public land use report

Improved access by hunters was not among 12 recommendations made to the NSW government following an inquiry into the management of public lands, although hunting was widely discussed in the committee’s report.

The parliamentary inquiry, chaired by Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown, has recommended a broad independent review of all public land management in the state, with a view to introducing multiple land use models.

Key issues for the inquiry included recreational access to national parks, and the inquiry reported on opportunities currently available, calls for greater access and opposition to it.

“Inquiry participants gave evidence highlighting the difficulty that some recreational users experience in accessing areas of public land,” the committee stated in the report.

“The committee believes that while some activities may not be appropriate in all areas of national park estate, options for allowing access to appropriate areas should be encouraged to ensure as wide a cross section of the public can access and appreciate the landscape of New South Wales.”

Licensed hunters will soon be allowed into NSW national parks under recently introduced legislation, though the model under which they will operate has been revealed.

While hunters are not specifically mentioned in the report’s recommendations, hunting and shooting were widely discussed in the inquiry’s hearings and feature heavily in the report.

The report noted the achievements of R-licence holders in state forests since the Game Council’s conservation hunting program began.

“Since 2004, more than 98,750 written permissions to hunt in state forests and crown lands have been issued by the Game Council NSW [and] over 3.2 million animals have been taken by licensed hunters since 2004, including 76,500 animals taken from declared public lands since 2006,” the report said.

The state government’s submission to the inquiry said licensed recreational hunters in state forests helped to “exert downward pressure on feral animal populations”. Other submissions noted that shooting was a useful supplement to other pest control measures, but there were submissions that strongly opposed it.

One submission, by the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition, listed hunting among the “highly destructive recreational activities” that must “be banned” from national parks.

Regarding shooting for pest control, the report said, “inquiry participants stressed the need for cooperative management across all land tenures in order to successfully manage pest and weed problems, as neither respect the boundaries of a property or the tenure of a piece of land. A number of inquiry participants suggested that this meant that a more cooperative approach was needed in relation to national park estate.”

The inquiry looked at the impact a pest animals including wild dogs and feral pigs and goats.

“Some inquiry participants claimed that the problem of feral pigs had worsened after land was converted to national park estate,” the report stated.

Many people expressed concern about wild dogs moving from public land such as national parks to private land, where stock was destroyed.

The report has been tabled and will be considered by the NSW government.

Picture courtesy NSW Game Council/Filskis.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.