The NSW Government must act on a report recommending wild deer be listed as a pest animal, allowing their destruction, an environmental group says.
Premier Mike Baird has been challenged by the Invasive Species Council to take action on what has been called the state’s “most urgent feral animal threat”.
Illawarra residents who live near the escarpment know only too well how damaging the deer menace can be to property and vehicles.
Wollongong City Council declares deer a “priority pest” but this does not create enforcement powers. Statewide wild deer are still classed as a game animal.
The NSW Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has delivered its report to the Government, recommending deer be listed as a pest.
Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said feral deer were “out of control” and a policy shift away from appeasing the hunting lobby was overdue.
"For years their numbers have been allowed to grow, and now we’re suffering the consequences – they are a major environmental threat to Australia’s oldest national park, the Royal, and are becoming a menace on our roads,” he said.
“In the Illawarra region feral deer have caused nine fatalities in a 7-year period and 100 collisions with trains.
"It is important the Baird Government back the overwhelming majority of the 400 submissions to the draft report that regard deer as an environmental, agricultural and social menace rather than cave in to narrow hunting interests determined to maintain deer's status as a protected species.”
For years their numbers have been allowed to grow, and now we’re suffering the consequencesAndrew Cox, Threatened Species Council CEO
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the NRC’s report delivered on an election promise to review pest management. “The NSW Government knows all too well the impact pest animals can have on the State’s primary industries, environment, economy and society – that’s why it is important we consider improved ways of management,” he said.
“We’ll now thoroughly consider the NRC’s findings, and any changes that need to be made, prior to the public release of the final report and the NSW Government’s response.”
Questions about when the report or response would be released, or if it would be this year, were not answered.