Matho’s blog: $2.5 million for nothing? Or 2:1 to us?

One of the good things about NSW having a Green in parliament is that all Australians can look in and see what the Greens are really like. It’s especially pertinent because shooting is a hot topic in NSW politics.

Shoebridge, in his crusade against the Game Council, spoke on ABC South East radio yesterday.

“The entire annual spend last year for Forests NSW on feral pest and weed control was only $600,000,” he said.

“In place, they gave $2.5 million to the Game Council for ad hoc amateur hunting.

“The balance is entirely wrong.”

The only balance wrong here is Shoebridge’s. His incessant whining about ‘amateur hunters’ and supposed waste of public funds ignores a number of simple facts.

The most obvious is that the millions given to the Game Council are given back to the community twice, ie, the Game Council is worth twice what it costs in terms of public benefits. That’s an independently measured outcome, too, not pro-hunting spin.

“In quantitative terms for impacts that could be readily determined, the total net public benefit of the Game Council is estimated at $2.763 million in 2010-11, with the total gross public benefit of $5.583 million, far outweighing costs of $2.82 million,” the AEC Group’s public benefit assessment report for 2010/11 said.

It went on to say the cost-benefit ratio was improving because hunters were spending more and killing more pests animals, and that benefits were expected to climb in coming years.

“By 2014-15, the net public benefit is projected to increase to between $3.805 million and $10.208 million, or higher benefit-cost ratios of 2.35 and 4.62,” the AEC Group report said.

These figures represent the things that could be quantified. There are many more public and social benefits that can’t.

Shoebridge and his Greens simply hate hunting and hate guns. There is nothing else to it, and the more they try to rationalise it, the more easy it is to poke holes in their arguments.

In the end, they will be left with nothing but the emotional plea of ‘guns are bad, we don’t like guns’. That’ll become a popularity contest, where votes will count.

Is it any wonder shooters have become political? We’ve had no choice.

Now that we’re political…

Today’s Daily Telegraph has a story about how the Shooters and Fishers Party is holding government strategy ‘hostage’. Personally, I’ve got no issue with it. Robert Brown and Robert Borsak seem to be standing on reasonably and admirable grounds in many of their objections to the government, which is their prerogative. Of course, that’s not the way it’s being painted.

Besides, if the major parties hadn’t persecuted law-abiding shooters in the past, we wouldn’t have felt the need to get up there and mix it with them, would we?


Mick Matheson




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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.