Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader and Parks spokesperson
It’s clear the Liberals have once again kowtowed to the powerful shooting lobby with their decision to open up Tasmania’s protected areas for recreational shooting, under the guise of environmental management.
Neither the Premier nor the Primary Industries Minister could explain why they were not opting for a cull of feral deer, instead of opening up protected areas for hunting, placing other recreational users of these areas and native species at risk.
The Premier and Minister Courtney both attempted, falsely, to slander the Greens and claim they supported hunting in National Parks. That is not true, and it’s contemptuous in the extreme for the Liberals to cling to carefully selected comments of environmental champions like Bob Brown, who has quite clearly backed comprehensive invasive species management of feral deer inside protected areas, not a shooting free-for-all.
If the Liberals were serious about controlling feral deer, they would implement proper invasive species management through the Parks and Wildlife Service. A well-resourced and properly managed cull is what’s needed, not open slather for recreational shooters.
Our protected areas are just that – protected. People come from all around the State, country and globe to visit Tasmania’s world class wilderness. Allowing more hunters to shoot in more places inside protected areas will not tackle the problem of feral deer and it is manifestly a threat to public safety.
There have been tragic, avoidable deaths in other parts of the world where shooters are allowed in to places where people go to enjoy bushwalking and camping. The public safety risk is real.
Deer must be treated as the invasive species they are, and managed accordingly. It’s ridiculous that we currently have a situation where hunters are being sent into protected areas to kill fallow deer, while a separate section of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment is dedicated to maintaining the deer population to please recreational shooters.