Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Ms COURTNEY
Your desire to appease the powerful gun lobby after the backflip on changes to gun laws was evident yesterday with your announcement shooters will be allowed into more national parks and reserves. We understand this is not about invasive species management, it is about hunting.
Mr Gutwein - Bob wants to shoot them from helicopters.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I remind people that insults are to be traded through the Chair.
Ms O'CONNOR - Bob Brown called for proper invasive species management, not a shooter free-for-all in parks.
Was the announcement made out of concern about feral deer who have escaped from an industry your Government supports and funds, or was it simply to throw shooters a bone? What is your department doing to tackle the real problem here, a Government sponsored deer hunting industry that places the recreational interests of shooters over the protection of Tasmania's national parks and natural environment?
Madam Speaker, I am somewhat confused by the member's question because we are taking steps to protect our wild areas in Tasmania.
Ms O'Connor - No, you are not, it is about the hunters, it is not invasive species management.
Ms COURTNEY - As was outlined by the Premier earlier, it is consistent with the recommendation of the Legislative Council inquiry into wild fallow deer, which recommended 'eradicate deer populations in World Heritage and other areas classified as conservation land and consideration given to recreational hunters as a resource'. What do you suggest we do? Ignore the recommendations of the upper House?
We discussed this last year. We had a comprehensive response to the inquiry last year. It is a balanced approach that is supported by the wider industry. It is also supported by Bob Brown. An article from the ABC in 2016 says that Dr Brown wants a group set up to look after the problem. That is what I did yesterday: the Tasmanian Game Council. They are responding to what they want so we put in process, science and research. If the Greens do not like the response, they complain. Furthermore, Dr Brown went on to say that we should conduct more research into numbers. Ms O'Connor, that is exactly what we are doing - $150 000 into a census to have the facts to address this.
Ms COURTNEY - They tie themselves in knots over there. We are listening to the facts; we are listening to the science. We know that they do not like it; we know they only like process when it gives them the results they want. This is another example. It has been completely supported by their ideological leader, Dr Bob Brown -
Ms O'Connor interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. Ms O'Connor, you have the honour of being the first person warned in my speakership.
Ms COURTNEY - Madam Speaker, the Premier earlier said we want to put some facts on the table. The Parks and Wildlife Service has been providing recreational shooters access to shoot on reserved land for some time, including under them. The rhetoric, the fear they want to spread and the lies shows they are clearly playing politics because this was something that was allowed under them. Hunting deer is now explicitly allowed under the 2016 Tasmanian World Heritage and Wilderness Area Management Plan that went through consultation. They just do not like it when they do not get the answer they like.
We will do this appropriately. Hunters will only be permitted if they are appropriately licensed and registered. We will work with the Tasmanian Game Council and Parks and Wildlife to determine the most appropriate areas. We are responding to the needs of the environment; we are responding to the needs of farmers, and we are responding to the needs of recreational hunters in Tasmania. It is a legitimate pastime of Tasmanians and we will defend the pastime of Tasmanians. We have seen that in the past few days in what we have announced. We are supporting the game council and our farmers because we understand that farmers across Tasmania have increasing pressure. We have heard that from the TFGA and other stakeholders. The Greens want to ignore what is happening in the community. They want to ignore their stakeholders. We will continue to listen.
Dr Woodruff - We are listening to our stakeholders, we understand what is on your cooked up council.
Ms COURTNEY - I suggest, as Dr Woodruff is yelling out, that she should listen to Bob Brown because we are doing exactly what was called upon by Bob Brown.