Imagine you plan a nice trip with your family to the National Park. You expect a nice peaceful walk, maybe a picnic. However what you get is bullets flying all around you.
Not exactly my idea of a good day out and certainly not a situation I would like to put my son in. However that is exactly what the O'Farrell Government is going to allow.
In August 2011, I was concerned that the rumours to allowing amateur shooters in to our National Parks to shoot at will, so concerned I asked the Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, to assure the State that hunting in National Parks will not be reconsidered.
Her answer should have been the end of it: ‘‘... shooting is not compatible with visitations to our national parks … For the benefit of those opposite I repeat that the policy of the NSW Government is clear: Hunting in national parks is not and will not be permitted’’.
For a Minister to pointedly say, on the floor of NSW Parliament, that shooting in National Parks is not and will not be permitted then backflip less than 12 months later says one thing and one thing only: a deal was done.
Barry O'Farrell never once mentioned that he would be willing to make stupid deals in order to get his policies through. Never once were the people of NSW told about this prior to the election. In fact, they have said the opposite, time and time again, both in this place and outside.
This is a dumb policy. This is a policy that will threaten the lives of every visitor to our National Parks. This is a policy that was brought to the former Labor Government and quickly thrown out because they had the foresight to know it was dangerous and irresponsible.
This Government has been warned that this policy places an increased risk on all visitors and National parks workers. This is simply a disaster waiting to happen.
The Premier is choosing to ignore the main risks including serious injury or death from bullets or arrows, environmental damage and carcasses impacting on water quality.
And the Government's answer to the high risk workers and visitors will be placed under as a result of this decision? Wear high visibility clothing so they aren’t mistaken for targets and shot at.
In Parliament last week Barry O'Farrell said he was suspending the start of this policy until a review into the Governance of the Game Council is completed.
Let me get this right, he introduces a policy THEN decides he better have a review? Here is a tip Premier, abandon this policy not just suspend it.
I have said it before and I will say it again, this is a dumb and dangerous policy.
Ryan Park is State MP for Keira and opposition spokesman for roads.