A committee to investigate the viability of hunting on public land in Western Australia will be set up after Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Rick Mazza successfully moved the motion in the Upper House yesterday.
Mr Mazza had flagged the idea of hunting on public land previously, causing a stir in the Parliament of one of the remaining Australia states and territories where there is no provision for it.
However, an amendment was made to that original motion to form a committee to investigate the viability of introducing recreational hunting on public land rather than approve or dismiss the motion.
“I’m very pleased, this is the first step,” Mr Mazza told Sporting Shooter. “I congratulate the members in the Upper House who supported the idea of a committee because there was a real chance that the original motion would have been opposed.
“Now a committee can investigate the proposal and get back to Parliament next year and we’ll revisit the original motion then.”
Mr Mazza said that members saw the environmental and economic benefits of allowing recreational hunters to target feral animals in WA state forests.
However, he said that the committee would take a close look at all aspects before making a decision.
“We will investigate Victoria’s system, look at Tasmania and also have a good look at New Zealand. It will depend on which way the committee goes, but I think they will find that a regulated system does work and provides benefits to the community.
“The main concern is safety. They can see the benefits in the reduction of pest animals and the economic benefits with hunters spending money in country towns as well as the cost savings in pest reduction.
“But safety is the area that will need to be addressed even though we know that incidents in Australia are very low. Shark attacks are a one in two million chance and we’ve had nine in the last few years. We certainly haven’t had that many firearms incidents.
“So I don’t expect that the committee will find the risk to be too high.”