- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hunting on Public Land Petition

The Sun Herald featured a strong editorial yesterday titled "the time is right for O'Farrell to kill off
hunting plan." In case you missed it we've reprinted it below.

This kind of positive coverage is a sign that the actions we are taking opposing hunting on public land in NSW are having a real effect on public debate in NSW.

We're still collecting signatures on our petition (attached), so please grab a few more signatures if you have time, and also share the editorial below with people you know via social media.
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Time is right for O'Farrell to kill off hunting plan

It was a pig of a plan from the start: allowing amateur shooters into national parks because the NSW government's real agenda was being held hostage by a couple of minor-party upper house MPs. Slowly but surely, the plan has unravelled as the keeper - the Game Council NSW - has become the hunted.

Two senior members of the council, installed to oversee the national parks shooting program, will appear in court in May charged with multiple offences, including hunting without permission, firing a firearm into inclosed land and possessing a prohibited weapon in a nature reserve. One of them is the chief executive of the Game Council, Greg McFarland. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has suspended the national parks plan until the cases are resolved and a governance audit of the Game Council is complete.

He should be commended for this.

But now, the other of those men charged, Edward Hoogenboom, has admitted even he thinks shooting in national parks is a bad idea.

So does former vice-chairman of the Shooters and Fishers Party Jim Pirie, who fears a death would result in a crackdown on firearms and opportunities to hunt; never mind the grief of the family involved.

And this is where O'Farrell must step in. His job, unequivocally, is to act in the best interests of the people of NSW. The 79 national parks that shooters have in their sights are visited by more than 6 million people a year. Last year, more than 26,000 permissions were issued to hunt in state forests. That's a very compelling statistical imbalance.

O'Farrell should take advantage of the Game Council's difficulties and put an end to the plan entirely. On the other side of the deal with the Shooters Party and Christian Democrats is electricity privatisation. O'Farrell has already come up with an alternative plan to enact legislation for that - take it to the 2015 election - so there is no need to pander to the interests of minor-party upper house MPs.

On top of the charges laid against Hoogenboom and McFarland, the Greens have exposed almost a dozen examples of serious transgressions the Game Council has had to consider. These include licensed shooters being caught with prohibited firearms, using drugs and alcohol, trespassing on restricted land, illegal hunting in national parks, the use of cannabis while hunting illegally with dogs in a state forest and an unlicensed 17-year-old being allowed to shoot deer while supervised by his licensed father.

The Game Council's Hoogenboom says it best: ''National parks are for the public, the park users. There are other ways to control feral animals apart from just shooting them.''
And so say all of us.

Published originally in the Sun Herald 14 April 2013.

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