O'Farrell's latest mad plan: National Parks hunting could start during school holidays

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Premier Barry O'Farrell should immediately rule out allowing amateur hunters into national parks during the NSW school holidays – after he flagged the commencement of the dangerous policy in the middle of the April school break.

Mr O'Farrell has said the hunting in national parks policy is likely to commence in April – even though NSW school holidays begin on April 12 and run through to the end of the month.

This is despite the Government's own risk assessment warning there is a high risk someone will be seriously injured or killed under the Premier's plan to allow recreational hunters into national parks.

"Recreational hunting in national parks should never be allowed in NSW, and certainly never during school holiday periods," Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"It would be absolute madness to introduce amateur hunters into our national parks during the April school holidays.

"The Office of Environment and Heritage has already warned there is a high risk of serious injury or death if the Premier proceeds with his legislation to allow hunting in national parks.

"Mr O'Farrell should immediately give an undertaking never to allow recreational hunting in our national parks when they are full of schoolchildren and their families enjoying their holidays.

"The first responsibility of any Government is to protect the safety of its citizens. For the Government to proceed with hunting in national parks in the face of warnings people could be killed or injured is an abrogation of that responsibility.

"This is just the latest example of Mr O'Farrell's cavalier attitude to public safety. The Premier is putting his political deals with the Shooters and Fishers Party before the safety of the people of NSW."

The Supplementary Pest Control in Parks - Draft Risk Assessment dated 10 December 2012 identifies 10 main risk areas under the policy of hunting in national parks, including:

  • Serious injury or death from bullets or arrows
  • Animal welfare concerns due to 'less accurate use of firearms' and 'use of bows'
  • Reduced visitor numbers
  • Environmental damage including carcasses impacting on water quality
  • Confrontations between hunters and park visitors or staff.