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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

George shows protesters the letter of the law

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A poster had to substitute for the real Thomas George, who declined to address a group of demonstrators outside his office yesterday opposing shooting in national parks. Photos Jimmy Malecki

Rain failed to dampen the spirits of the 150 people who attended a rally outside state MP Thomas George’s office in Lismore at lunchtime yesterday to protest against the state government’s decision to allow recreational shooting in 96 per cent of northern rivers national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.

But instead of seeing it as an opportunity to meet with their constituents, local MPs declined offers to address the rally. A response by Thomas George to detailed questions was read out to the rally on behalf of all north coast National MPs.

Dailan Pugh from the North East Forest Alliance said that the response was written by ‘some staffer in Sydney’.

‘The local National Party MPs could not even be bothered responding to their constituents’ questions,’ he said.

Mr Pugh addressed the meeting, together with others including local conservationist Ruth Rosenhek, ecologist David Milledge, the Public Service Association’s (PSA) industrial officer Geo Papas, and state Greens environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.

He told the group, ‘It is outrageous that our local members, who voted to allow recreational shooting in out national parks and reserves, voted to have recreational shooting excluded from Sydney’s urban areas but made no effort to have it excluded from urban areas in their own electorates.

‘The Act allows for shooting in places like Arakwal National Park and Cape Byron State Conservation Area in the middle of the tourist mecca of Byron Bay.’

The MPs’ letter read in part, ‘Thank you for your interest in the implementation of the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Act 2012. The government has previously listed 79 national parks and reserves for consideration as areas where shooters may be able to take part in an extension of the feral animal eradication program.

‘As has been previously announced, the program will not be extended into World Heritage listed areas.

‘A decision has not been made as to where the current safe program of feral animal eradication will be extended in the state’s parks and reserves. Details of how the program will be implemented will be finalised in consultation with experts.’


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  1. Feral animals are slaughtering native creatures at an alaming exponential rate! Nothing the good hearted but impractical apponennts to shooting feral animals by licensed hunters, will stop the decimation of our precious fauna.
    The real world in the bush is a very cruel place.
    Wild dogs, feral cats and foxes cause native animals more pain than a bullet they get in the brain!
    I worked in David fleays nature reserve and got to know and love our native creatures. I know Dr Fleay would not if he were alive, would support culling by responsible hunters of predators which have put the natural balance Australia once had totally out of whack!
    I am getting my license and taking up arms in support of our dwindling fauna out there, while my apponents sleep in their warm beds in the desusion they are protecting what they are actually harming-our wonderfull wildlife.

    • You hit the nail on the head John. Tragedy that these kids just don’t understand these basic realities. That’s “environ-mentalism” for you!

  2. National Parks were set aside for the enjoyment of the public and for the securing of safe environments for local wildlife. Allowing shooting to take place in these sanctuaries is nothing short of insanity! Tourism is not limited to Heritage-listed parks, and nor is the right of people to enjoy their local Nature space in peace and quiet. A peaceful family picnic, suddenly sent helter skelter by the ringing of bullets just beyond one’s ear, simply does not serve well. Bullets fly far, trigger-happy moods shift. There is no such thing as the safe co-existence of people and un-controlled gun use. Keep guns out of our National Parks.

    • Please read my posting below. Hunting can actually benefit national parks if carried out with appropriate care and safety on the part of the hunters.

      • Brent Melville…your comment would be valid if you inserted the word “professional” ahead of the last word “hunters”

  3. Thoms George is OK about stanidng in front of war memorials in his publicity pics but shows that essentially he holds those things diggers died for in contempt when it suits his and his sleazy sons perosnal financial interests . He is a coward and hypocrite and a typical consrevtive poltician dead set on enlarging his family’s personal bank balance at the expense of his constituent’s saftey and amenity. What a fraud and a humbug! Next eelctio he should be totlaly dispensed with and thrown into the rubbish bin of histroy where his ilk belong.

  4. Interesting to read the comments that “Details of how the program will be implemented will be finalised in consultation with experts”. I wonder which experts they will be talking to, as they have obviously ignored the advice of their own NPWS Pest Management experts who have advised strongly against the very scientifically unsound program.

  5. The New Zealand government used to employ hunters (called deer cullers) to shoot wild deer in NZ national parks. The deer damaged native vegetation. Similarly, feral deer and pigs (more so) cause damage in Australian national parks and state forests. Pigs and wild dogs also attack livestock (especially sheep), causing massive losses for farmers. In recent years this problem has become critical, most likely because of the vast areas of forest that have been locked up across Australia. The protesters seem to be ignorant of land and forest management issues. They apparently believe that once you lock up forest, that “pristine nature is restored”. It just isn’t and in fact the opposite can occur – total destruction from fire as weeds and undergrowth accumulate and disaster for adjoining farms from feral, introduced species.


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