The Shooters and Fishers Party hosted four-wheel drivers, primary producers, sporting clubs and tourism operators, as well as hunters and fishers, as it outlined plans to establish itself in the Northern Territory.
After very encouraging results in the NT during the last Federal election, the SFP is confident it can challenge for seats during the next Territory election.
“Access to public lands and waterways is always the biggest issue that we have in NSW and this is common right around Australia these days,” keynote speaker Robert Borsak, an SFP MLC in the NSW Parliament, said at the formation meeting held at the Sporting Shooters Association’s Micket Creek Shooting Complex outside Darwin.
“We have had some decisive wins, with NSW hunters gaining access to National Parks and State Forests, and in slowing the progression of Marine Parks, but it will be up to NT members to decide what the most urgent local issues are here.
“These access issues affect many different user groups including hunters, anglers, four-wheel drivers and campers – so it was fantastic to have all of these groups represented at the NT formation meeting,” Mr Borsak said.
The SFP’s Western Australian branch was registered last month after more than 600 members joined the party in this year alone. The party now aims to repeat that in the Northern Territory, where similar issues confronting outdoor users are encouraging them to seek direct political representation at the Territory level.
Local SFP coordinator Martin Reinhold highlighted the party’s NT electoral successes in the 2010 Federal election and said it could capitalise on the interest shown in certain areas. He also discussed how the SFP could effectively distribute preferences to the major parties.
One of the 2010 polling booths, Humpty Doo, returned almost 15% of the primary vote to the SFP, a point hammered home to the meeting attendees.
“NT locals have told us that they appreciate our attention to protecting their ‘NT lifestyle’, especially when it comes to outdoor activities like fishing and hunting,” Mr Reinhold said.
“We have had a number of approaches from groups interested in helping us establish the party here in the NT. Obviously, they each have their own issues that they would like to advance and I can only say to them that we are here to help.”
Shooters and Fishers party was established in NSW in 1992 and currently has two sitting members in the NSW Legislative Council.