Dear Don Page,
I am writing to you publicly in the hope that you may respond to my questions, as you wouldn’t respond to those in my letter to you.
As Premier Barry O’Farrell did not identify that any reserves in the Ballina electorate would be made available for recreational hunting, could you please explain why you voted to allow the environment minister to approve hunting in all 17 conservation reserves in your electorate?
Given that Cape Byron State Conservation Area (SCA), Arakwal National Park (NP), Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve (NR), Marshalls Creek NR, Brunswick Heads NR, Billinudgel NR and Ballina NR all adjoin urban areas, I ask you to please reconsider your decision to allow recreational hunting in them due to the real risk to neighbours.
You voted to prohibit recreational hunting in reserves near Sydney’s urban areas, so why not ours? Are we second-class citizens?
Many of the reserves in your electorate have very high visitation rates, with Cape Byron SCA, Arakwal NP, Broken Head NR, Brunswick Heads NR, and Tyagarah NR being particularly popular. Don’t you think it will be detrimental to public safety and the tourism industry to allow hunting in these? Surely it is sheer madness to allow hunting in the Cape Byron SCA with its more than 1.2 million visitors each year.
I also implore you to reconsider your approval to allow recreational hunting in the Big Scrub remnants of Davis Scrub NR, Victoria Park NR and Hayters Hill NR. These are small rainforest remnants of immense conservation value and totally inappropriate for recreational hunting.
Similarly Mount Jerusalem NP and Inner Pocket NR have been identified as having exceptional conservation values due to their being proposed by state and Commonwealth governments as additions to the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
I ask you to now publicly state in this publication which, if any, national parks, nature reserves or state conservation areas in your electorate you are prepared to guarantee that the environment minister will not approve for recreational hunting?
North East Forest Alliance