Hunting plan risk ‘chilling’

LIVES will be put at risk and tourism will suffer under a plan by the NSW government to allow amateur hunters access to national parks, the opposition says.

A leaked NSW Office of Environment and Heritage document, obtained by the opposition, identifies a high risk of a bullet or arrow causing death or serious injury under new laws that allow recreational hunters to shoot feral animals in some parks. It also warns of reduced visitor numbers, environmental damage and the possibility of rotting carcasses left to fester in water.

Labor environment spokesman Luke Foley slammed the government over the proposal.

‘‘This report [is] a chilling warning of the dangers in store if [Premier Barry]  O’Farrell proceeds with this madcap scheme,’’ Mr Foley said yesterday.

‘‘There’s a high risk of a projectile injury causing death or serious injury. Any responsible government would pull back and cancel, abandon the plan.’’

Mr Foley said community safety had been placed behind the needs of  Mr O’Farrell to pander to the Shooters Party, under a deal he struck to ensure the passage of bills through the NSW upper house.

‘‘The shooters are literally calling the shots,’’ he said.

Because the government would not supervise or set exclusion zones for shooters, they would be able to hunt near walking trails and roads, Mr Foley said.

Tourists would be deterred.

‘‘People just don’t want to go there for the experience of bullets flying by them.’’

Environment Minister Robyn Parker on Saturday said hunters would be subject to strict conditions. She said safety ‘‘will always be paramount’’.  AAP 

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