The best thing you can do to protect your right to hunt on NSW public land is write to your local MP, and we’ve prepared a full list of issues to bring up.
In conjunction with hunting organisations and prominent representatives, Sporting Shooter has prepared this extensive list as a guide to your own personalised letter, which will have far more impact than a form letter.
We recommend you use some or all of them, and put your own take on them, expressing your feelings about the actions of Premier Barry O’Farrell in scrapping the Game Council without notice and under such politically motivated circumstances.
The Game Council will not be resurrected and we do not suggest you advocate rebuilding it, but it’s vital that we make it clear to the O’Farrell Government that we will not tolerate any reduction in our established right to recreational hunting opportunities on public land.
You’ll find contact details for all NSW MPs listed on the NSW parliament website.
Hunters were shut out of state forests for no reason
Hunting under Game Council management ran successfully for over seven years on NSW public lands. It was acknowledged in Stephen Dunn’s report as a success, and he did not recommend it be stopped. Why has it been stopped? Why has the government acted beyond the recommendations of its own commissioned report?
We have no faith in the national parks trial
Culls involving recreational hunters will be trialled in 12 National Parks under onerous and unrealistic conditions that are guaranteed to result in failure. We do not believe NPWS staff will run these culls with any intention of a successful result. Why set up the process for failure?
Unnecessary risk assessment for state forests
The Minister for Primary Industries spoke of a risk assessment process for state forest and Crown land hunting that, according to the Dunn Report, is unnecessary. The Minister also suggested that future state forest and Crown land hunting by recreational hunters may adopt the guaranteed-to-fail model being trialled in national parks. Why are you setting out to destroy an activity that has proven successful for seven years?
Economic damage if hunting is stopped
Hunters travelling to state forests have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on accommodation, fuel, groceries and incidentals, usually in regional areas. This is on top of ammunition, appropriate clothing and licensing fees. How will local economies make up for the loss in income if public land hunting is seriously curtailed?
Genuine reason for ownership of a firearm
My legal reason for ownership of a firearm is to pursue recreational hunting on public land. If this is not to be a possibility in future, will the NSW Police take my firearms from me through no fault of my own and without adequate compensation?
Discrimination based on a cultural activity
As part of the Yorta-Yorta land rights claim, the High Court recognised European hunters as a party of interest because of their proven cultural background. Why am I being discriminated against for pursuing my legal recreational pursuit which harms no-one and helps in the battle against feral animals on public land?
Very worrying moves towards a ban on hunting
The Greens have a stated aim of abolishing all recreational hunting for no justifiable reason other than ideology and the O’Farrell Government is proving to be leaning this way. Hunting is a legitimate cultural and historic pursuit that goes to the root of mankind’s development. Is the O’Farrell Government determined to curtail the legal ethnic and cultural pursuit of hundreds of thousands of its citizens to pander to a tiny, but vocal green-red minority?
Hunting is an internationally recognised part of conservation management
Organisations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature not only recognise hunting as a legitimate pastime but embrace it as part of their goals for sustainable management. Throughout Europe, Africa, the USA and elsewhere, regulated recreational hunting (as opposed to organised culls) plays a significant role in wildlife management. What guarantees can the O’Farrell Government give that conservation hunting will not only be allowed to continue in NSW but will be encouraged so that it can provide greater benefits for the community and environment?
Political contempt for law-abiding citizens
I am by definition one of the most law-abiding people in the state. Why am I continually discriminated against by this government with over-regulation such as the Ammunition Control Bill and now the closure of state forests to hunter access? Has the Ammunition Control Bill stopped drive-by and gang-on-gang shootings in Sydney? Is this how our elected leaders intend to keep treating its most upright and outstanding citizens?
Game Council staff and their proven skills
Will the employees of the Game Council Division, now taken on by the DPI, be integral and valued in the administration and implementation of public land hunting in NSW in view of the Dunn report praising their experience and conscientious efforts to date? Or will they be sidelined and denied relevance in the new DPI order? What assurances will the government give me that their contribution and energy will not be wasted?
Lack of consultation with senior Game Council members
Why was there no consultation on the future of the Game Council with Chairman or CEO. The Chairman received a copy of the Dunn report from the Minister’s office 45 minutes after the announcement the council was to be disbanded and 30 minutes after the Sydney Morning Herald had posted the story. The CEO who was on holiday found out from a phone call from a hunter and then learnt the details from the ABC radio reports. Given that Dunn acknowledged the excellent work game council had done, why were they treated with this type of contempt?
Political sabotage of the Game Council
Why have successive state governments inadequately funded and supported the Game Council Division, other than to see it fail in its non-core business, ie, bureaucratic and self-serving reporting?
Lack of government support for hunting
If the O’Farrell Government was genuinely supportive of the concept of recreational hunting in national parks throughout the public debate, why did they not more extensively publicise that such hunting was to be conducted in remote locations with minimal existing visitation under the successful state forests model, rather than allow the Greens the unchallenged freedom to spread the fallacy that bushwalkers in the Royal National Park or the Blue Mountains would be dodging the bullets of “redneck” hunters?
Is the government prepared to show faith?
Has the O’Farrell Government continually looked for excuses to fetter and unreasonably discriminate against law-abiding shooters and hunters in NSW? If not, will the O’Farrell Government undertake to feed additional funding into the positive development of legal hunting and shooting in NSW, free from additional red tape and measurably beneficial to every licensed shooter in NSW, from 20% of the proceeds from the Barangaroo Development for the first ten years after a dividend is realised?
Political fallout from Mr O’Farrell’s actions
Hunters have been gaining political strength over the years. There are about 200,000 firearm owners in NSW, including 20,000 R-licence holders, many living in areas such as Western Sydney which is tipped to play a key role in the outcome of the coming federal election. Is the O’Farrell Government aware of the potential political fallout from the continuing contempt it has shown towards hunters and shooters?