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On 4 July 2013, the NSW Government announced that a trial recreational hunting program would commence October 2013 in 12 national parks. At the same time, the Government announced it had disbanded the Game Council of NSW.
The controls and management of the program reveal that the Government has responded significantly to the campaign opposing recreational hunting in national parks. What the Government will roll out is fundamentally a professional hunting program run by National Parks and Wildlife Service professionals. Such programs have been in operation for some time and professionally operated programs have always had the full support of the community. To the many supporters of the “No Hunting in National Parks” campaign, we say thank you for your efforts on the ground and for standing up and speaking out. A summary of the changes the NSW Government has brought to the original recreational hunting program are outlined here:
> A trial hunting program will commence in October 2013 in 12 national parks. These parks have not yet been identified. After this, the Government intends to assess whether or not it may roll this out into the 75 parks the Government was considering prior to 4 July 2013.
> No minors will be allowed to hunt in any national parks despite lobbying from the Shooters and Fishers Party.
> Programs that aim to manage pest animals will be run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, not the Game Council.
> The National Parks and Wildlife Service may bring in volunteers to help execute its professionally planned and managed programs, however these volunteers will have to go through the same training as professionals and demonstrate their ability. Hunters will have to undertake navigation training and species identification training.
> As already occurs with professional programs run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, parks will be closed to the public when hunting programs are taking place.
> There will be no shooting at all in any national park during school holidays.
> Bows and arrows, black powder muskets and pistols will be prohibited in national parks, despite lobbying from the Shooters and Fishers Party.
> The Game Council of NSW has been disbanded. I.E. The Shooters and Fishers Party no longer have a Government Statutory Authority working on their behalf.
> Amateur hunting in NSW forests has been temporarily suspended until the responsibilities of the Game Council are transferred over to the Department of Primary Industries. At 4 July 2013, no recreational hunting can occur on any public land in NSW until further notices from Government. (sourced from website 3/11/2021)