A committee of the Upper House of the NSW Parliament, the Legislative Council, will be inquiring into some of the states' national parks.
The Inquiry has been called by the Chair of the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5, Robert Brown (Shooters and Fishers Party) and three National Party members.
This Inquiry into Public Land Management in New South Wales intends to examine the "process of conversion of Crown Lands, State Forests and agricultural land into National Park estate or other types of conservation areas". It is aimed particularly at the River Red Gum forests of the Southern Riverina and parks created from native hardwood forests in northern NSW.
There is widespread concern that this is the beginning of a further push by the Shooters and Fishers to open up national parks to hunters. Robert Brown has been campaigning for this for years.
Another possible motive for targeting national parks relates to NSW State Forests long-term over-commitment of timber resources in this state. According to the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh, "The National Party was well aware of the supply crisis before the election and some members expressed their preference for opening up national parks for logging, though the Coalition denied they had any intent to do so."
Following concerns expressed by NEFA, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the Wilderness Society, the NSW Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, issued a media release denying there would be any reversal of the Red Gum forests legislation or that hunting would be allowed in national parks. The media release dealt in some detail with what the government was doing with the River Red Gum parks but did not allay concern about whether the government had any plans for logging in national parks.
NEFA is calling on people to contact their local State Government member to ask them for personal commitments that they will not support either the revoking of national parks or opening them up for logging and shooting. Concerned people could also contact the Premier, Barry O'Farrell.
Politician Contact Details:
Chris Gulaptis M.P., Member for Clarence
11 Prince Street, Grafton, NSW 2460
Phone: (02) 6643 1244
Andrew Fraser, M.P., Member for Coffs Harbour
1/9 Park Avenue, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450
Phone: (02) 66526500
Thomas George M.P., Member for Lismore
PO Box 52, Lismore, NSW 2480
Phone: (02) 66213624
Hon. Barry O'Farrell
Premier of NSW
Macquarie St Sydney NSW 2000