Whistleblower reveals danger to public of South East Parks hunting

Leaked documents have revealed that an area proposed for unsupervised amateur hunting in the South East Forest National Park, which the government has described as having ‘low to zero visitor use’, is actually very well used section of the park alongside the Princes Hwy.

The O’Farrell government has to date refused to release key documents relating to the proposed hunting in National Parks, including the risk assessment and maps detailing proposed Zone C areas. These leaked documents prove why the government wanted them hidden from the public.

Issues raised by NPWS workers in the documents regarding recreational hunting in proposed Zone C Yurammie Section of the South East Forest National Park include:

  • The Princes Highway and about twenty private properties are now in the middle of a Zone C unrestricted shooting zone, to the north and north west of the tourist town Merimbula.
  • The two kilometre section of the Princes Highway is just five kilometres north of Merimbula and is used daily by school buses, coaches, local traffic, international and interstate tourists, tradespeople and other workers.
  • The area of national park is a popular bushwalking and picnicking destination and has power lines where workers do maintenance.
  • It is also habitat to threatened bird, bat and koala species and is used by commercial tour operators.
  • Under the proposal NPWS rangers will not know when hunters will be in the park so undertaking regular programs in Yurammie will be dangerous and a significant OH&S risk.
  • One mentally ill local resident “tends to appear out of the bush without warning, she may be shot mistakenly.”

View the documents online here

Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge said:

“Zone C classifications were meant to be in remote areas and allow recreational hunters to roam around shooting unsupervised.

“This fresh evidence makes a mockery of the government’s proposal and raises more serious questions about the lack of rigour in the plans to expand the program of hunting on public land.

“Barely a week goes by without fresh information raising serious concerns about the O’Farrell government’s proposed program of hunting in National Parks and nature reserves.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the expansion of hunting into national parks is a dangerous sop to the Shooters Party, with almost no consideration of the impact on the public or the environment.

“We shouldn’t have to rely on whistleblowers to understand the safety risks posed by hunting in National Parks.

“It’s time for the Premier to come clean and release all the details of the proposed Zone C hunting areas.

“Labor created the monster of the Game Council. It’s now high time that Barry O’Farrell stopped ‘feeding the trolls’,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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