Push to ban hunting in parks during holidays shut down

Wollongong MP Noreen Hay called on Premier Barry O’Farrell (pictured) to reverse his decision on amateur hunting.
Wollongong MP Noreen Hay called on Premier Barry O’Farrell (pictured) to reverse his decision on amateur hunting. Trevor Veale

A PUSH to ban hunting in NSW national parks during school holidays has been shut down with the help of the North Coast's National MPs.

Expressing her "absolute disdain" at changes to legislation which could soon allow shooting in parks during holidays, Wollongong MP Noreen Hay called on Premier Barry O'Farrell to reverse his decision on amateur hunting.

She said she recognised the starting date for hunting had been delayed until after the most recent school holidays but said safeguards needed to be in place for the future.

She said the government's own risk assessment had found amateur hunting posed a "high risk of someone being seriously injured or killed" and questioned whether the Premier proposed that "we suit out children in bulletproof vests and high-visibility gear before taking them on a bushwalk".

She also slammed a clause in the legislation which states children as young as 12 will be able to shoot pest animals.

"That is outrageous and an accident waiting to happen," Ms Hay said

"It is public land and people have every right to enjoy it".

Murray-Darling MP John Williams, who advocated for shooting as a form of pest control, said the motion was about "creating hysteria" and not based on fact.

He said Ms Hay made it sound like the State Government had opened up all of the states 865 national parks, when in fact, shooting had only been allowed in 76.

He maintained the legislation was about the impact feral animals were having on pastoral country and said those opposed to the idea of shooting needed to stop thinking of everyone who considered it to be a hobby as "rednecks".

Ballina MP Don Page, Lismore MP Thomas George, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis all voted against the motion which was defeated 61 to 19.

Topics:  ban hunting national parks school holidays

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