How the Northern Star covered the shooting of wallabies at Lennox Head, on August 23.
How the Northern Star covered the shooting of wallabies at Lennox Head, on August 23.

Call for tougher penalties

NSW needs tougher penalties for shooting native animals and more resources for catching offenders, Lennox Head-based Liberal MP Catherine Cusack said.

In a parliamentary speech, Ms Cusack warned existing investigators would be unable to enforce laws protecting native wildlife once recreational hunting was introduced to some of the state's national parks.

Ms Cusack told Parliament there was only one National Parks and Wildlife Service investigator working between Newcastle and the Queensland border.

She said penalties for killing native animals were relatively low, reaching a maximum of $11,000 per animal, and offences were difficult to prosecute.

Most people appeared unaware native animal killings had to be reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

"I respectfully submit our regulatory system is unprepared and inadequately resourced for dealing with these crimes," she said.

"The Government proposes to open a large area of national parks in this region, in addition to State forests, for recreational hunting. There is absolutely no way one National Parks and Wildlife Service investigator for wildlife protection will be adequate."

The speech was prompted by the discovery last week of about a dozen wallabies shot to death at Seven Mile Beach.

Ms Cusack said it was now impossible to find or prosecute the person or people responsible for the killings, partly because of time elapsed.

The wallabies were shot over several weeks and people who found them had not known the offence should have been reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for investigation.

Even if it were possible to properly investigate the offences, the logistics of prosecuting even one person for 12 separate shootings, considering the investigator's stretched resources, was unlikely, she said.



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