The Shooters and Fishers Party today introduced the legislation that will allow hunting in NSW National Parks and provide genuine, measurable benefits to the people of New South Wales, to the State’s economy and to the environment, all at minimal cost to taxpayers.
The Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2012 is expected to easily pass both houses of the NSW parliament within the next week or so, and should see R-licensed hunters in 79 national parks a few weeks later.
The bill is a simplified version of the one tabled last year by Robert Brown MLC, and makes a number of changes to how conservation hunting will be managed and policed.
Other public land may be opened up, too, and local councils will have the ability to enlist Game Council-licensed hunters in certain circumstances.
Inspectors will be given more protection and greater powers, including authority to search hunters’ vehicles without the police present.
Taxidermists will be required keep records that may help convict poachers, and hunters who break the law will face stiffer penalties.
Mr Brown told parliament licensed, trained and tested Conservation Hunters are already on track to remove 1 million feral and game animals from public and private land in NSW, while injected more than $100 million of their own money into regional towns.
Their impact will be even greater under the new laws.
“Since the passing of the original Game and Feral Animal Control Bill 2002, hunters have demonstrated a thoroughly professional approach towards feral animal control, and have also proven over the years the value of volunteer conservation hunting, both on Crown Lands and on private property,” Mr Brown said.
“The threat of feral animals in our national parks is great, even more so after the recent floods, where the population of feral cats, foxes, pigs, wild dogs and goats has exploded.
“The utilisation of volunteer conservation hunters, as well as working well in our State Forests, works particularly well in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia.”
He said a thorough review of the original Act, which created the Game Council to manage volunteer conservation hunters, had confirmed it was a successful approach.
“The 2012 Act addresses some of the recommendations for reform found in the review, including the expansion of the system into some National Parks,” Mr Brown said.
“National Parks near metropolitan areas, Heritage areas and other sensitive places will be excluded from the program, and there is a heavy onus on hunters to do the right thing or risk significant penalties,” he said.
Mr Brown added that Australian figures showed hunting on foot, as is required on public land, is one of the safest outdoor pursuits that Australians enjoy.
“There is no better professional body than the Game Council, and no more dedicated conservationists than volunteer conservation hunters when it comes to the control of game and feral animals in NSW,” he said.