The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) and the NSW Greens have welcomed the abolition of the Game Council and the immediate suspension of recreational shooting on 400 state forests and two Crown land areas.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said that it has been obvious for years that the Game Council was politicised and too closely aligned with the Shooters and Fishers Party.
‘It proved itself time and again not to be a fit and proper body to oversee shooting on public lands,’ Mr Pugh said
‘The NSW government should have got rid of them long ago.
‘NEFA was astounded when in last month’s budget the NSW government granted the Game Council a hefty $1.7 million increase in public funding, taking its public funding to $4.35 million, while it was sitting on this review.
‘If this funding were now channeled into professional feral animal control programs it could achieve far more than recreational hunting ever could.
‘For a while it will be a lot safer to visit our state forests and we have bought more time to enjoy our local national parks without risking our lives.
‘The NSW government should take this opportunity to stop recreational hunting on public lands rather than just suspending it while the Game Council’s powers and responsibilities are transferred to the Department of Primary Industries.
‘Government promotion of a gun culture is not in the best interests of the general public,’ Mr Pugh said.
Greens NSW spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said the decision was ‘a victory for common sense and for all of the spirited grassroots campaigners who made their voices heard on this issue’.
‘This decision confirms what the Greens have been saying for years: amateur recreational hunting is not an effective form of feral animal control,’ Dr Faruqi said.
‘We need to decouple the idea that feral animal control and recreational hunting achieve the same aims. They don’t.
‘The government’s own risk assessment showed that hunting in national parks would put the safety of national parks rangers and the public at risk of injury or death.
‘The Game Council has been shown to be incapable of effectively or humanely managing feral [animal] control and they have rightly been disbanded.
‘It is a shame that the government is keeping the door open for the Shooters Party by approving trials of amateurs being supervised by national parks rangers in 12 parks.
‘The Greens will continue to work with the community to keep a close watching brief on this issue and ensure that feral animal control is done professionally and humanely,’ Dr Faruqi said.