New push to get guns out of local forests 

OBERON Council is again pushing for a shooting exclusion zone in local state forests. 

It follows new concerns about reckless shooting across private land – and the tragedies that could follow. 

Council held a meeting recently with Chifley Local Area Command’s Rural Crimes Unit and representatives from across local rural areas to discuss shooting in state forests adjacent to private residences. 

Landholders told the meeting of incidents where unidentified shooters had shot across private land. In another instance, people identified as hunters from the Game Council were found target shooting from a public road. 

Following this meeting, members of the rural community have made further representations to Member for Bathurst Paul Toole seeking exclusion zones be established in state forests which adjoin private land and public roads. 

Council’s ordinary meeting on Tuesday night recommended that the Game Council NSW be invited to meet with council and with local landholders. 

It was also recommended that council reaffirm its position that it is seeking a complete exclusion of recreational shooting from the state forests in the Oberon local government area during mushrooming season. 

Further, council will seek to establish permanent exclusion areas for hunting in state forests and national parks in areas identified as being in close proximity to dwellings and public roads. 

A number of landholders have continued to pursue the matter. 

Max Sward has prepared a petition which has been circulated to a number of businesses in Oberon asking that Premier Barry O’Farrell ban shooting in state forests and national parks in the Oberon local government area. 

The petition says recent incidents have shown shooters’ proven disregard of safety regulations – some through ignorance, but some by careless intent. 

It says a number of the incidents have put resident families and valuable livestock in serious danger, and the situation is exacerbated by a “total absence of controlling authority personnel”. 

A National Parks Association of NSW petition opposing the proposed recreational hunting in national parks was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. 

As there are more than 10,000 signatures, the issue will be debated in the “People’s Parliament”. 

“Our message to the premier is that the people of NSW have spoken on this issue. They do not want recreational hunting in national parks; it is time to listen,” Justin McKee of the National Parks Association of NSW said. 

“All versions of the NSW Government’s own draft risk assessments to date have given a risk rating of ‘high’ regarding the risk of injury or death from projectiles. The government’s program effectively locks people out of national parks with that kind of warning. 

“Barry O’Farrell cannot expect millions of park users to share the same public space as unsupervised amateur hunters, of varying skill levels, who obtained their R-licence after sitting an open-book test.”

Max Sward holds a petition requesting NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell ban shooting in state forests and national parks in the Oberon area.

Max Sward holds a petition requesting NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell ban shooting in state forests and national parks in the Oberon area.