On the 27th June 2012, the NSW Government passed legislation to allow recreational shooters to hunt feral animals in NSW National Parks. NPA and many other community groups were strongly opposed to the decision on the basis of negative environmental impacts, inefficiency in controlling feral animals, public safety concerns and animal welfare issues. NPA responded by running a major campaign, ‘No Hunting in national parks’.
On the 4th July a significant response was received by the government who announced that the Game Council of NSW had been disbanded and that the hunting program would now be professionally managed and controlled by staff of the National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS).
A trial hunting program will now commence in October 2013 in 12 national parks, which will be identified in the coming months. At the end of the trial period the Government will then assess whether or not to roll it out across the 75 national parks identified in the original plan.
A summary of the significant changes made by the NSW Government to the original recreational hunting program include:
- No minors will be allowed to participate.
- The program will be run and professionally monitored by NPWS, as opposed to the Game Council of NSW.Volunteers must have undergone the equivalent level of professional training as NPWS staff, including navigation and species identification training, and need to demonstrate shooting proficiency.
- Parks will be closed to the public when hunting programs are taking place.
- There will be no shooting in national park during school holidays.
- The use of bows and arrows, black powder muskets and pistols will be prohibited.
In addition to the changes to the hunting in national parks program, amateur hunting in NSW forests has been temporarily suspended until the responsibilities of the Game Council are transferred over to the Department of Primary Industries. NPA and other environmental groups are currently actively lobbying the government to apply the stronger protocols now employed in the Supplementary Pest Control Program in National Parks, to recreational hunting on all public land.
To find out about the background to the program and NPA's response to the government's welcome announcement, visit our dedicated website, www.nohunting.com.au