Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Allowing Shooters in Newnes and Ben Bullen forests would be destructive and deadly

“Yesterday’s public notice proposing access to shooters in Newnes, Ben Bullen and thirty other state forests in NSW could lock out everyone else due to the risk of accidental shooting.  The Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, seems to be determined to lock up even the most popular state forests for shooters, denying access to these areas for a wide range of recreational users”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Government is risking public safety and people could be accidentally shot.  I can’t imagine that regulatory authorities who are unable to prevent unregistered trail bike riders on Newnes Plateau can stop unlicensed hunting.  Everyone knows two out of every three trail bike riders in these forests are unregistered and it will be the same with the shooters, said Mr Muir.

“To make matters worse, some unscrupulous hunters will release feral deer, goats and pigs into these new forest hunting areas, while others will plug away at everything that moves.  Hunters have released pigs and deer in the southern Blue Mountains on several occasions but these were detected and eradicated by National Parks and Wildlife.  Shooters also plan to introduce exotic birds in the Game Council’s handbook and not currently found in NSW”, Mr Muir said.

“Every citizen has a duty to protest against this hunting nonsense, be you farmer, bush lover, miner, policemen or forester.  The gun lobby has to be opposed; as it wants have as much access for gun use as possible.  The massive number of hunting orders will see more gun users on public lands and it is a mathematical certainty that there will be more gun-related accidents.

“The Government is deluding itself that the Game Council, which is comprised of hunters, can self-regulate shooters.  Instead I can imagine many unlicensed shooters will be creeping around in the bushes or strolling behind a pack of hunting dogs, terrifying everyone and every living thing in these forests.

“The pathetic Feral Animal and Game Act has already been used to give almost a million hectares of State Forests over to shooters, and rather than eradicating ferals it will promote the spread of these animals, threaten native wildlife and human life.

 “Politicians fear to lose your vote. So let Minister Macdonald and local Member Gerard Martin know before July 7th that allowing hunting in popular State Forests, like Newnes and Ben Bullen, will increase the number of hunting accidents and deaths.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)