Opportunity Lost – Game Council goes, but deer still protected for hunters

The Invasive Species Council today urged the NSW Government to amend the Bill abolishing Game Council NSW, introduced into Parliament today, to overcome the game hunting culture that is hampering feral animal control in that state.

In particular, deer should be treated under law as a feral animal of great threat to agriculture and the environment rather than being protected for hunting as a game animal.

“The NSW Government should be congratulated for abolishing the Game Council NSW after a scathing independent review of the governance of the council by consultant Steve Dunn,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“The review found that there was a fundamental conflict of interest between the roles of the Game Council in promoting and regulating hunting.

“Unfortunately, the reviewer wasn’t tasked to look at the role of the Game Council in effective feral animal control. For too long, the Game Council has falsely presented itself as a cheap and effective solution for feral animal control while acting to thwart and discredit more effective control measures, especially preventing deer control.

“Deer are the most important emerging animal pest in Eastern Australia, and have been listed as a key threatening process in NSW.

“Hunters have deliberately spread deer to many new areas and the Game Council and the Shooters and Fishers Party have fought any moves to more effectively control them. For example the Game Council actively fought against the declaration of deer as a ‘pest’ under state legislation.

“We urge the government to prioritise environmental and agricultural protection over recreational hunting by either revoking the Game and Feral Animal Control Act or by amending the Bill now in the NSW Parliament.

“The Invasive Species Council proposes changes to the Bill that remove the restriction on private landholders controlling deer on their own land, that prevent game hunting from occurring in national parks, that makes the objective of the Game Act the ‘control and eradication’ of feral animals, rather than their ongoing harvesting, and that abolishes the category of game animals.

“As a priority, feral deer should now be declared a pest species to facilitate more effective control.”

More information
Does the end of the Game Council deal with hunters’ failed feral animal control?

For comment
Andrew Cox, Invasive Species Council – CEO 0438 588 040.


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