Police to be deployed in National Parks to referee high risk confrontations

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A leaked internal document from the Office of Environment and Heritage has revealed NSW Police will be deployed into national parks to manage high risk confrontations between armed hunters and parks users – under the O'Farrell Government's legislation to allow hunting in national parks.

The decision to deploy police to national parks comes at the same time western and south western Sydney is being hit with escalating gun violence and public shootings.

The Supplementary Pest Control in Parks Program – Draft Risk Assessment dated February 2013 confirms there is a 'high risk' of confrontations between hunters and the public in national parks.

To manage this, the report confirms the O'Farrell Government will be forced to implement a:

"Police presence in the event of significant public protests to minimise the risk of either side becoming aggressive." (p37)
"With the potential for firearms discharge to occur in this situation the risk consequence has been rated as major." (p37)
"Police should be dealing with bikie gangs and gun crime on Sydney streets, not managing confrontations in our national parks between amateur hunters and bushwalkers," Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said.

"Barry O'Farrell's own department 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.

"The fact we are now going to see valuable police resources pulled off the streets and sent into our national parks because of the Premier's dangerous policy is a joke.

"The O'Farrell Government must immediately abandon its plans to allow amateur shooters to hunt in national parks.

“If a tragic incident occurs, nobody in the O’Farrell Government can say they weren’t warned about the risks.

"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 Upper House before the safety of the people of NSW."

The updated risk assessment also confirmed regular hostile confrontations are already occurring in National Parks between upset national parks users and national parks staff, and stated "these appear to relate primarily to in principle objections by some park visitors to this program".