Cessnock bid to ban shooting at Sugarloaf

CESSNOCK City Council could act to protect one of the region’s most popular picnic spots from the impact of the state’s new shooting laws with a vote at tomorrow night’s council meeting.

Maitland MP and NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker should formally prohibit shooting in Sugarloaf State Conservation Area and its popular picnic spot to protect the area from the uncertainty provided by new shooting legislation, Greens councillor James Ryan said.

He will move that the council also request a formal ban on shooting in Werakata National Park and Werakata State Conservation Area, where the villages of Abernethy, Kitchener and Abermain adjoin park areas.

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Controversial legislation passed by the NSW Government identifies only 48 parks and conservation areas in which shooting is prohibited. It names 79 parks that will likely be open to hunters.

The legislation allows Ms Parker to approve hunting in other parks, but it also includes a process to nominate parks where shooting is expressly prohibited.

‘‘There are concerns that villages around Cessnock and the Sugarloaf picnic area will be surrounded by shooting following the NSW Government’s decision to allow shooting in national parks,’’ Cr Ryan said.

‘‘Lismore and Albury streets in Abermain may have shooting occurring in the bush across the street.

‘‘Bruce Street and Kearsley Road in Abernethy are adjacent to areas which may be opened up to shooting.

‘‘At Kitchener, the ends of Bellbird, Aberdare and Richmond streets are adjacent to the national park, and much of the new 900-lot subdivision will be alongside national park land in which shooting can occur.

‘‘It is not acceptable that local residents are put at risk of stray bullets.’’

Cr Ryan opposed shooting in national parks, and said the purpose of his motion was to alert the government to the impact of the new laws on Cessnock and the Hunter.

‘‘By listing these areas on Schedule 3A shooting will be prohibited in them.’’

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