Rangers put shooters
square in their sights
MORE than 40 National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) rangers rallied in Bathurst yesterday (Monday) to protest against the State Government’s decision to allow hunting in New South Wales parks and reserves.
The rangers rallied outside a Coalition Cabinet meeting at the Mount Panorama Pit complex.
Premier Barry O’Farrell, in Bathurst for the meeting, last week announced the government will allow recreational hunters to cull feral animals in 79 national parks and reserves, in exchange for the crucial backing of its electricity privatisation bill from Shooters Party MPs.
Oberon-based NPWS area manager, Kim de Govrik, told the rally the safety of rangers, park users and native wildlife would be risked if the government’s deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party went ahead.
Mr de Govrik said rangers want to get home safe at the end of every working day.
“We don’t want bullets buzzing around their ears while they’re trying to get on with doing their normal day’s work,” he said
“It’s dangerous legislation.
“We will lose lives, people will get injured and our native fauna will suffer.”
The NSW Public Service Association (NSWPSA), which represents park rangers, has directed members “to withhold information and their expert advice from Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, and other members of the NSW Coalition Government” with any activity involved in establishing recreational hunting in the parks.
NSWPSA general secretary, John Cahill, says the “good work and safety of NPWS staff will be placed at risk by the State Government’s backroom deal for hunting in parks”.
“Recreational shooting of pest animals in national parks is an unproven, untested, expensive and unsafe activity,” Mr Cahill says in a statement.
“Our member have been working very hard to control and manage feral animals in parks.
“Recreational shooting will compromise the professional and scientifically proven feral animal control programs run by national parks staff, placing native plants and animals at risk.
“This move is another shot across the bow of our national parks, with the Shooters (Party) and other vested interest groups clamouring for greater access at the expense of the environment and the people who look after them.
“Industrial action like this is not a decision we take lightly, but we simply cannot let the State Government’s compromise of our national parks to go ahead,” Mr Cahill says.
Click the graphic above to say no to recreational hunting in NSW national parks.