NSW squibs on pest reform and protects deer for hunters

Media Release |

The NSW government has caved into the hunting lobby in its pest announcement today that fails to address the growing impacts of feral deer on farmers and the environment.

They have ignored the recommendation of the Natural Resource Commission to declare deer a pest species and scrap their protection as a game animal.

“As new deer distribution maps released today show, feral deer have expanded by 60% over the past six years and now occur over almost half of eastern NSW,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“Deer are causing havoc for farming communities and wrecking our bushland and will become a major traffic hazard, and yet the Berejiklian Government has given priority to the hunting lobby by continuing to protect deer as a hunting resource rather than declaring them a pest species.

“It has baulked at the reforms needed for hard-working farming communities and for everyone who cares about protecting NSW’s unique bushland.

“The government doesn’t need to stop hunting, but it must remove the game status for deer that keeps deer for the exclusive benefit of hunters and obstructs control efforts,” said Mr Cox.

The government’s decision is a response to last year’s review of pest management conducted by the NSW Natural Resources Commission. The commission made 33 recommendations, of which only 10 were supported in full by the NSW Government.

One of the biggest issues identified during the review was the growing impact of feral deer on primary producers and the environment. In NSW, feral deer are protected as a resource for hunters, with restrictions in place like night time shooting bans and seasonal closures.

“There may be temporary relief for some landholders. The government has lifted some hunting restrictions in nine of the worst affected local government areas, allowing landholders to use contractors, volunteers and neighbours to shoot feral deer on their properties at night and with spotlights. A hunting licence and membership with a hunting club will still be required by these shooters,” said Mr Cox.

“Deer control may ultimately improve, but it’s likely to be too little, too late and the game status of feral deer will continue to stymie reform. New regional pest committees will be created to prepare regional pests plans in 2018 and a statewide deer plan is promised by the end of 2017.

“The NSW government has also failed to take decisive action on regulating cat ownership and addressing the keeping of pet animals, fish and birds that could become the pests of tomorrow.

“This government has failed to act on a growing feral menace and landholders and taxpayers will pay the price for years to come,” said Mr Cox.

For comment
Contact Andrew Cox on 0438 588 040.

More info:

Local government areas where hunting restrictions on private property are lifted from 1 June 2017:

  • Tenterfield
  • Glen Innes/Severn
  • Liverpool Plains
  • Port Macquarie/ Hastings
  • Upper Hunter
  • Wollongong
  • Snowy Valleys
  • Bega Valley
  • Snowy Monaro

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