The NSW branch of the SSAA has gone into partnership with NPWS to implement the Supplementary Pest Control program in the state's national parks.

SSAA throws support behind NPWS hunting scheme

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) NSW branch has gone into partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to implement the state government’s controversial Supplementary Pest Control Program.

The program will see hunters go through extra training before they will be escorted in groups by NPWS staff to locations within 12 national parks where they will be permitted to cull feral animals.

SSAA NSW executive director Diana Melham announced this week that by becoming involved in the program, which will be trialled for three years, SSAA members would benefit.

“This partnership allows SSAA NSW to make a significant contribution to conservation efforts in NSW, while at the same time increasing hunting opportunities for our members,” she said in a media release.

“SSAA NSW has long expressed a desire to work with all levels of Government on sensible and effective laws for licensed, law abiding firearm owners.

“This partnership allows our accredited volunteer hunters to take an active role in preserving the diversity of flora and fauna in our National Parks while removing feral pests.

“SSAA NSW and NPWS will both be given opportunities to contribute to the independent evaluation of the trial, and feedback from volunteers will also be an important consideration when gauging the effectiveness of the trial.”

The trail proposal has divided the opinions of traditional hunters with the Shooters and Fishers Party (SFP) describing it as a program that was designed to fail.

However, SFP NSW MLC Robert Borsak said that he welcomed the news that the SSAA was providing support for the program.

“We welcome the SSAA’s involvement,” he said. “It’s not outside what they do elsewhere in the country and it doesn’t operate to the exclusion of hunting elsewhere.

“This is in line with what the SSAA has done in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. It relates to these highly controlled programs for close order culling in sensitive areas of land and it was been highly successful.

“The other thing too is that the SSAA is the only organisation in Australia with the structures to be able to do this sort of thing.

“When we negotiated with the government we encouraged them to look at that aspect of hunting as well.”

While Mr Borsak was supportive of the announcement, he added that the program would not appeal to all hunters.

“There are some hunters who would be interested in participating in these programs, but they aren’t going to benefit the full spectrum of recreational hunters,” he said.

“If anything it’s going to be a small, highly trained group of SSAA members who will take part. The costs associated with it are going to be prohibitive and it’ll take a lot of personal dedication to do it.”

He said the cost of training would be around $2500-$3000 to achieve the qualifications needed to participate in the program.




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Justin Law