State Government’s pro-hunting agenda sees a swift return of hunting to our State Forests

Story link: http://nohunting.wildwalks.com/node/520, Posted 7 November, 2013

State Government’s pro-hunting agenda sees a swift return of hunting to our State Forests

“The Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson has gazetted the Government's intention to re-declare 358 State forests for hunting before the results of a risk assessment have even been completed says Kevin Evans, CEO of the National Parks Association”.

“Although there are no new forest declarations on this list, we are dismayed that the government are not taking this opportunity to seriously address the feral animal control problem with a strategic cross tenure, whole of government approach”.

“The Minister’s declaration on the DPI website makes no mention of this decision being part of her vision for decisive action on feral animals in NSW”.

“Following the Dunn report on governance of Game Council NSW and a successful community campaign lead by NPA, the NSW Government suspended all hunting on public land and dissolved the Game Council on 4 July 2013. The Minister for Primary Industries revoked all previous forest declarations on the same day and instructed the Forestry Corporation of NSW to conduct a new risk assessment for hunting on State forests”.

“Community groups had expected the government to adopt aspects of the new Supplementary Pest Control Program which will soon be implemented in 12 national parks and reserves for a 3 year trial. In this program there will be no unsupervised hunting allowed and the involvement of non-professional shooters will be entirely at the discretion and close supervision of NPWS staff. These licenced and highly qualified shooters will only be called upon to assist staff when required as part of a strategic feral animal control activity”.

“The Minister has giving 30 days' notice that hunting will resume in State Forests without making the risk assessment public or providing any information on how the program will be managed and supervised. Disappointingly this hasty and politically motivated decision will not be informed by a scientifically designed regional pest animal strategy”.

“According to their own staff, the Forestry Corporation has invested little on feral animal management since being formed earlier this year. Apparently, feral animal control is not viewed as a commercial imperative for their operations”.

NPA fully understands and is greatly concerned about the impact of feral animals. It will be disappointing to many people that with this decision the Government are still not taking feral animal control seriously. Recreational game hunting does little to reduce feral animal populations and can actually make things worse if it isn’t a component of a targeted and supervised program which the NPWS model now clearly is.

The Minister must make the risk assessment public and inform the community of how letting hunting resume in State Forests will help reduce feral animal populations and the devastating impact they have on native species and rural communities’ concluded Mr Evans.

Media Inquiries: Kevin Evans 0457 797 977