The Invasive Species Council today called on the NSW Government to reject the Shooters’ Party bill that would open national parks to hunting, establish private game reserves and release feral birds into the natural environment.
The NSW Parliament is due to debate the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill this week, and the government has signalled it will pass at least some of the bill.
Invasive Species Council project officer Tim Low said it was shocking the government could even consider a bill that would worsen feral animal problems in NSW.
“The entire bill should be torn up. The NSW people have not been given any chance to have their say on what would be a radical assault on the conservation ethos,” Mr Low said.
“The proposed release of exotic birds such as pheasants, bobwhites and partridges would be irresponsible in the extreme. These species have gone feral in other parts of the world and caused agricultural and environmental damage.
“Their release contravenes the first goal of the government’s Invasive Species Plan, which is to ‘prevent the establishment of new invasive species’.
“The proposed establishment of private game reserves also poses a high risk of worsening feral animal problems in NSW. It provides a commercial incentive to create new feral animal populations behind fences, and as inevitably happens, there will be escapes.
“The proposal for recreational hunting in national parks is likely to do nothing to control feral animal populations and creates an incentive for maverick hunters to spread feral animals into new places. This already happens with deer and pigs.
“The performance thus far of Game Council NSW licensed hunters in up to 2 million hectares of state forests demonstrates the general futility of using recreational shooters for feral animal control.
“In the past two years hunters have killed on average 6500 feral animals in state forests, about half of them rabbits, and Game Council NSW has spent on average $323 per feral animal killed. It is a con to call this conservation.
“While skilled recreational shooters can add value to some feral animal control programs, the ad hoc approach in NSW state forests contravenes basic principles of feral animal control. It contravenes the government’s own codes of practice.
“This anti-environmental bill should not be imposed on the NSW people for the sake of a few thousand hunters.”
Download ISC critique ‘Is Hunting Conservation – 420kB PDF
The NSW Invasive Species Plan 2008-2015 can be downloaded from the NSW Department of Primary Industries website
Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009, NSW Parliamentary website website