Dailan Pugh, North East Forest Alliance
Don Page and I agree that allowing shooters in conservation reserves in the Ballina electorate is ludicrous in the extreme (Echonetdaily, 5 July), so why on Earth did he vote to allow it?
On 21 June Don Page voted for the Shooters and Fishers’ Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2012. He did not raise a single concern. Subject to the approval of the environment minister, it allows for recreational shooting in all 799 national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas in NSW, except for 48 specified reserves around Sydney and declared wilderness and world heritage areas.
Robyn Parker is the environment minister who told NSW parliament as recently as 8 November 2011, ‘The policy of the NSW government is clear: hunting in national parks is not permitted’. She is obviously trustworthy.
Don Page’s assurance that there are no plans to allow recreational shooters into any national park other than the list of 79 identified by Barry O’Farrell for immediate approval is misleading, particularly as nobody rules out adding to this list in the future.
Others do have plans. At the NSW government-sponsored Shot Expo, Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak said, ‘There are 780, 790 national parks in NSW, all of which, except about 40, will be eventually declared for hunting’. This includes all conservation reserves in Don Page’s electorate.
If Don Page was serious about excluding recreational hunting he would have added our reserves to the 48 he voted to exclude. Obviously the members in those electorates cared enough to have their reserves specifically excluded rather than rely on politics and the whim of the environment minister.
If Don Page honestly believes there is no way the environment minister will allow recreational hunters into any conservation reserves in his electorate as a result of the legislation he voted for, then I again challenge him to give an unequivocal public guarantee to this effect.