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Recreational Shooting in Protected Areas

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 23 August 2018

Tags: Invasive Species, National Parks, Deer, Hunting

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for PARKS, Mr HODGMAN

Yesterday, in yet another sop to the gun lobby, your Minister for Primary Industries and Water announced that recreational shooters would be allowed into protected areas, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Do you understand why this announcement has sent a shudder down the spines of Tasmanians who enjoy our national parks and want to feel safe in them? Do you have advice from the Parks and Wildlife Service to support this shooter free-for-all inside protected areas?

What role will the Parks and Wildlife Service play in ensuring public safety and the protection of native species? Why have you not, as Minister for Parks, resisted this redneck move and instead, if you acknowledge feral deer are a problem, implemented a proper Parks and Wildlife Service aerial cull rather than allowing private gun owners in, threatening public safety and native wildlife that have, until now, found sanctuary from shooters inside our protected areas.

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I welcome the opportunity to speak about how we need to get on with the job of doing something for our state, unlike members opposite, and look to how we better manage deer, game and browsing animals. We are already managing wild deer on farmland and in sensitive and environmental areas outside of the traditional deer range, including in our parks and reserves.

The Parks and Wildlife Service has been providing recreational access to shoot deer on reserve land for some time, including under the Labor-Greens minority government. This was happening when you were in government. If you did not like it so much then, why did you not do something about it? Hunting is allowed on game reserves, some regional reserves and conservation areas. Hunting for deer is now explicitly allowed under the 2016 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan. That went through an unprecedented level of public consultation and was approved by both the Australian Government and accepted by the World Heritage Committee. Similar arrangements already exist in other countries, like New Zealand, and in other states.

Ms O'Connor - Did you hear about that woman in New Zealand who was shot in the head by a shooter in a national park?

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr HODGMAN - These permits are, and will only be issued to, appropriately licensed registered shooters. Permits in parks and reserves will be limited to designated areas away from those areas frequented by visitors and informed by the statewide deer population census. The new Tasmanian Game Council and Parks and Wildlife Service will work together to determine which additional parks and reserves are best suited for the issuing of hunting permits.

Our policy and our approach is entirely consistent with the recommendation of the Legislative Council into wild fallow deer; to eradicate deer populations in the World Heritage and other areas classified as conservation land, with consideration given to recreational hunters as a resource. It is a balanced approach. It is supported by farmers, hunters and rural communities. Our new Tasmanian Game Council has been warmly received. It is also being supported by Bob Brown, members might be interested to know.

Members interjecting.

Mr HODGMAN - In June 2016, Bob Brown, in his submission to the Legislative Council -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, on relevance. The Premier is being misleading. Bob Brown supported aerial culling from helicopters, administered by Parks. Not a shooter free-for-all.

Madam SPEAKER - Thank you for that point of order.

Mr HODGMAN - As to the point of order, if I can provide Ms O'Connor with what Bob Brown said, so she is fully informed of what her spiritual leader believes on this matter -

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. The Premier will be heard in total silence until we hear the end of his answer, which I hope will be soon.

Mr HODGMAN - It will be, Madam Speaker. In response to the point of order, this is what Bob Brown previously said in relation to the shooting of wild deer. He said, 'Helicopter culling is a best available option for Tasmania,'. By November 2016, Bob Brown, in an ABC news piece, had changed his mind. I am not sure why. Perhaps he had talked to recreational hunters. He said -

'They've got a lot of experience and felt that culling deer at ground level would be a more effective way,' … 'It did prove effective in maintaining numbers, reducing number in New Zealand once they get into forest country. I think all those options need to be looked at.'

That is what Bob Brown said about what we need to do now to properly manage this issue. I suggest if the Leader of the Greens has any issues, she should take them up with Bob Brown.