Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge is the Greens NSW spokesperson on Firearms and the Game Council (including hunting on public land), building on the work begun by Lee Rhiannon when she was a member of the NSW Legislative Council, and opposing the emergence of a U.S. style gun culture in NSW.

120614 Hunting in Parks Rally 006 (600dpi)Guns and hunting have been prominent features of NSW politics for over a decade, with Labor and Coalition governments striking deals and horse-trading with the Shooters and Fishers Party in the NSW Upper House to pass contentious legislation.

Deals between the government and the Shooters Party have not only led to savage cuts to victims’ and workers’ compensation, cuts to public sector wages and conditions and the privatisation of the state’s electricity generators and ports, they have also weakened firearms laws and increased recreational hunting on public land.

The Greens will continue to campaign for stronger firearms laws, in accordance with the 1996 National Firearms Agreement. We are also working towards an end to recreational hunting on public land, to ensure that feral animal control is done effectively, professionally and humanely.

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People with guns kill peopleFollowing the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, the Howard government led the process of formulating the National Firearms agreement with the view of introducing and harmonising firearms laws across Australia. All semi-automatic long arm weapons were banned and a large-scale national buyback was instigated.

Since then, however, gun laws in NSW have been watered down due to political pressure from the Shooters Party, moving NSW away from the National Firearms agreement and increasing the number of guns and gun owners in NSW.

 The Game Council NSW

The Game Council was created in 2002 to secure the support of the Shooters Party in the NSW Upper House, with the brief to oversee recreational hunting and feral animal control in state forests and potentially in national parks.

Conservation Hunting SliderWhile the Game Council was supposed to be self-funding, it received more than $2.75 million of public funding per year to promote recreational hunting on public land in NSW.

The Game Council promoted so-called “conservation hunting” that was carried out by amateurs, had minimal effect on eradication of feral animals and produced needless animal suffering.

In mid-2013 the Greens’ decade-long campaign to abolish the Game Council ended in success. Following a damning report into the organisation’s governance, the NSW government has announced they will abolish the Game Council and bring its functions relating to feral animal control inside the Department of Primary Industries.