Is the NSW Game Council a fit and proper body to issue licences for recreational hunters to hunt in National Parks?
Last year the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, made a deal with the two Shooters and Fishers Party representatives in the Legislative Council in order to gain their support for his government's power privatisation bill. Payment for the deal was opening up 79 of the state's national parks/nature reserves to recreational hunters. The spin put on this sleazy deal (in which O'Farrell blatantly broke an election promise) was that these shooters would be doing the community and the environment a service as they would be helping eradicate feral animals in the national parks estate. See the CVCC post of 30th May 2012
The Game Council of NSW, which is partly funded from the public purse and is the tool of the state's hunting lobby will be responsible for licensing those who hunt in the 79 national parks/reserves when O'Farrell's deal comes into operation in March this year.
On 23rd January the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the Acting Chief Executive of the Game Council, Greg McFarland, had been suspended a few days earlier following a complaint about illegal hunting and trespass and inhumane killing of a feral goat in the central west of the state. Herald article of 23rd January
In a report a few days later (28th January) the Herald gave an update saying that the Game Council had also referred the incident to police. Herald report of 28th January 2013 Presumably they decided it was politic to do so because they knew it had already been referred to the police by the landholder where the trespass occurred.
Comments by the Game Council about the matter suggest it is both arrogant (scarcely surprising given the kow-towing of the government to its minions) and has an overweening sense of entitlement. According to the Herald, the Council's Chairman, John Mumford,"has called the matter an 'unfounded smear campaign' by Fairfax Media." Not content with that dubious statement, the Council "said the allegations were leaked to discredit the council after it had been thrust into the spotlight over its impending role in licensing hunters when 79 of the state's national parks are opened to shooting on March 1."
Is it too much to hope that the NSW Premier and his government are wondering if they are on the right track in, firstly, opening up national parks to recreational hunters and, secondly, having the Game Council licensing the hunters ?
O'Farrell and his government need to reflect on the wisdom of letting the fox look after the hen house.