The way the NSW Government do things, it'd cost tax payers nearly $15,000 to kill these two feral goats (photo: Alex Juris).

NSW Govt Pest Control Trial Costs $7152 Per Animal Killed


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It has been revealed that the NSW Government’s trial of supervised hunting in 12 national parks has cost a staggering $7152 for each pest animal killed. Some sources have incorrectly pointed the finger at the Shooters and Fishers Party, but Robert Brown has been quick to point out that the trial is a long way from what was originally agreed on with disgraced former Premier Barry O’Farrell, and that most of the costs have arisen from government red tape and the unecessary attendance of National Parks and Wildlife staff during hunting operations.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, official figures show the government’s so-called “pest control” trial, which began earlier this year, has killed fewer than 200 animals at a cost of $1.416 million. Some 198 animals, almost 70 per cent of them rabbits, were killed over five operations between February and August. Other animals killed included goats, pigs, deer and foxes. This equates to $7152 for each animal.

The Government, for its part, says most spending involved set-up costs. The operations involved 43 National Parks and Wildlife Service staff shifts. However, not a single animal was killed over two weekend operations at Woomargama National Park and the Goonoo State Conservation Area, despite up to seven staff being rostered on each day.

Twelve parks are open to the program, which allows volunteer hunters to shoot animals in an area covering 485,000 hectares. This is a far cry from the 79 parks originally slated when the government agreed to hunting in national parks to win the support of Shooters Party MPs Robert Borsak and Robert Brown for electricity privatisation laws.

Shooters and Fishers Party MP, Robert Brown, described the money spent on the trial as “disgraceful”. He said more national parks should be opened to licensed shooters, and the hunts should be unsupervised, claiming more animals could then be killed for a lower cost. He also pointed to eight years of successful managed hunting and pest removal in NSW state forests as an example of what could be achieved (you ca listen to a radio interview with Mr Brown HERE).

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the National Parks and Wildlife rangers, but experienced hunters don’t need toilet cleaners showing them how to hunt,” he said.

A spokesman for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage said establishment costs comprised most of the spending, including the development of “procedures and protocols”.

He said ground shooting was required for a small number of “trap-shy or bait-shy animals” that were resistant to other pest management techniques.

“However, the strategic benefit of removing individuals from an already reduced population is extremely valuable,” the spokesman said.

“Any pest animals removed in these reserves as part of the … trial will be vitally significant in ensuring that the pest populations do not increase and remain at these low levels”.

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi disagreed, saying the program was established to “placate the Shooters and Fishers Party” and NPWS staff were “babysitting amateur shooters at extraordinary cost to the taxpayer”.

“This government needs to stop pouring money into ineffective and wasteful programs and direct it into scientifically proven programs carried out by professionals,” she said.

About 26 qualified shooters have so far taken part in the program and a further 518 people have formally expressed interest.

 


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