Friday, February 15, 2013

Great Regatta - And Back To Bad Public Policy

Martin Brady in 25 knots

The NSW/ACT Laser Masters was last weekend at the Great Lakes Sailing Club. The club is located in the Booti Booti National Park where many of us camped.

It was a great event and a really good roll up with 124 entries, 57 standard, 59 radial and 8 4.7's.

MHASC was very well represented at the regatta and on the podium.

Congratulations to Sean Atherton-Feeney, Venessa Dudley, Rob Lowndes and Martin Brady. 

Meanwhile one of the local causes that I care about is starting to hot up.

Hunting in our National Parks is due to start in March.

Our state Premier Barry O'Farrell has broken his pre-election promise that there will never be hunting in National Parks and made a deal with the Shooters Party.

The National Parks Association of NSW, the Public Service Association of NSW, WIRES and Wild Walks have been campaigning over the last two years to stop shooting in NSW National Parks.

Getup has now joined the cause and is raising funds to run an ad in the Sun Herald.

This is the ad and if you would like to know more or help click here.

New Zealand knows all too well how hunting and recreation is a recipe for disaster. In late 2010, a 25-year-old New Zealand school teacher, Rosemary Ives, was shot dead while brushing her teeth at a camp site in a conservation park on the North Island. The amateur hunter responsible mistook her for a deer. Then in 2011, another bushwalker -- 23 year old Dougal Fyfe -- was shot and killed by his best friend.

UPDATE  July 2013

Very good news!   

In Late July 2013 we recieved this advice from the Campaign Coordinator, National Parks Association of NSW.

Control of feral animals back in the hands of NPWS
On 4 July 2013, the NSW Government announced that a trial of the Supplementary Pest Control Program would commence in 12 national parks. After this trial, a report would be delivered to cabinet and further national parks on the original list of 75 may be considered for the program.

The details of controls and management reveal that campaign to stop amateur, recreational hunting in national parks has been won.

The trial program is fundamentally a professional hunting program and will be run entirely by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff. The program is back in the hands of the professionals who have always managed pest animals in NSW.

NPWS staff may bring in professional volunteers to help execute its professionally planned and managed programs, and such volunteers will have to go through the same training as NPWS staff. E.G: Undertake navigation training, species identification training, demonstrate competency etc.

Any pest eradication programs that NPWS staff utilise professional volunteers for will have one of two zones within it. There were previously three, and the third to be omitted was the ‘scary zone' that permitted amateurs to carry out unsupervised hunting at their own discretion.

The two zones that remain are Zone A and Zone B.

Zone A: Volunteers will be part of the NPWS team and working shoulder to shoulder with experienced NPWS staff.

Zone B: Experienced and trained volunteers are supervised by NPWS staff. This will include induction and daily safety briefings. Detailed reporting, data collection and debriefing requirements will also apply. Site specific shooting plans with detailed maps will direct operations, with these being approved by NPWS regional managers consistent with regional pest strategies.

National Park will be closed to the public when pest eradication programs are taking place as has always occurred when NPWS have managed these programs.

A new addition to the rules around pest animal control is that there will be no shooting activity by NPWS at all in any national park during school holidays.

No minors will be allowed to hunt in any national parks despite lobbying from the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Unions of National Parks and Wildlife Service feel that the safety concerns they raised during the inception of the program have been adequately addressed. 
The campaign to stop amateur, recreational hunting in national parks has very much been won! The groups working on the campaign have committed to keeping a watch on the program and are now calling for: 
> Funds dedicated to the Game Council to be given to NPWS for strategic, integrated professional pest animal control programs, including further research into more humane methods of killing pest animals. 
> For the management and controls for pest animal programs in national parks to be also applied to our State Forests. 
In addition to the announcement around the Supplementary Pest Control Program, on 4 July the government also announced it had disbanded the Game Council of NSW. This came after an independent review of the Game Council by Steve Dunn reported the many incompetencies of the Council and that it promoted poor governance. 
For those who wish to see media and reports delivered from Ministers on 4 July, go to our webpage:
Thanks to everyone for their support to date.
There will still be news and updates to come in the future, but this will be less frequent. 
Best regards
Justin McKee, 
Campaign Coordinator, National Parks Association of NSW. 

News Items

SMH 18 Feb 2013 Plan to let minors shoot in parks

ABC News 20 Feb 2013 - Former Shooters party Exec opposes shooting in parks

SMH 26 Feb 2013 Hunters to use silencers to hunt in national parks

SMH 1 March 2013  Investigation found evidence of alleged illegal activity by a senior executive of the Game Council NSW

The Other Side

Pro Hunting Blog

Shooter and Fisher Party