I wish to respond to the claims made by Dailan Pughin this week’s Echonetdaily in relation to licensed shooters being allowed to cull pests in NSW national parks.
To claim that shooters will be allowed onto Cape Byron State Conservation Area or into the Arakwal National Park or any other nature reserve in Byron Shire is ludicrous in the extreme and shows a disturbing level of misinformation.
There are 79 National Parks (out of a total of 799) in NSW that the minister for the environment is currently considering whether to allow licensed shooters into, for the purpose of feral animal and pest eradication. Of those 79 parks, three are in the northern rivers. They are Yabbra National Park (west of Bonalbo), Nightcap National Park (between Mullumbimby and Nimbin) and Richmond Range National Park (north of Mallanganee). If the minister does approve an extension of pest eradication in any of these three parks, there will be strict conditions applying, ie only at restricted times and restricted parts of the park. It should be noted that last year 24,000 feral pigs, wild dogs, foxes and other feral animals were destroyed in NSW National Parks.
The minister is yet to decide whether it is appropriate to allow licensed shooters into the abovementioned three parks and it may well be decided that they are not suitable. There are no plans to allow licensed shooters into any other national park or nature reserve not on the list of 79.
Don Page MP
Member for Ballina