Wollongong City Council has scrapped its deer policy, passing it to a body it said was better placed to deal with the pest problem.
At Monday night's meeting Wollongong councillors debated the need to remove the Vertebrate Pest Animal Management Policy, which has existed since 2010.
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"The recommendation to revoke the policy is based on there being no need for a separate council policy when the NSW Government framework for pest management is better able to deliver the governance required to ensure ongoing effective pest management action," the council officer's recommendation stated.
Those papers also claimed axing the policy was not a sign the council's commitment to vertebrate pest management was diminished.
Cr Mithra Cox felt that, with the council budgeting up to $145,000 a year for pest management programs, retaining the policy was a way of seeing how that money was being put to use.
"It's a invertebrate pest policy - there are some legitimate questions in there," Cr Cox said.
"Are we spending the majority of that on deer? Are we spending a part of it on rabbits? I don't know.
"If we don't have a policy it's utterly unclear what that money is for, how we measure what we're doing, if it's effective."
Council officers said they had regular meetings with NSW Government agency and lead body Local Land Services where the number of deer removed was reported.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery felt "this is a bigger issue than just us", because large chunks of the Wollongong LGA were in the water catchment area or under the remit of National Parks and Wildlife Services, so it made sense for an overarching body taking the lead.
"It's also important to remember that a lot of the culling activity can't take place in our local government area simply because it's built-up areas," Cr Bradbery said.
"For safety reasons it requires it to be done west of us in national park areas as well as the water catchment areas."
While admitting the deer population had "taken off", Cr Ann Martin said scrapping a policy didn't mean the council was turning its back on the problem.
"Just because we don't have a policy doesn't mean we don't do things - we don't have policies absolutely everything we do," Cr Martin said.
"We just need to reassure people, even though they may have read that we've walked away from this program, we haven't walked away from this program at all.
"We're trying to do it in a more efficient way."
Councillors voted to scrap the pest policy, with only councillors Cox and Cath Blakey voting against the plan.
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