The ACT government looks unlikely to allow hunting for recreation in our national parks. Photo: Greg Newington
THE ACT government has ruled out ever opening the territory's national parks to recreational hunting as NSW rangers prepare for shooters to enter parks across that state.
From next year, the NSW government will allow licensed shooters into 79 of the state's 799 national parks, including nearby Brindabella, Tallaganda and Kosciuszko national parks.
Territory and Municipal Service Minister Shane Rattenbury said ACT rangers would patrol borders to ensure hunters did not encroach on capital land.
''There is absolutely no plan to ever open Canberra's nature reserves or national parks to hunters,'' Mr Rattenbury said.
''There are safety issues, there are amenity issues and there is no scientific evidence that allowing recreational hunters reduces feral pests. NSW has allowed hunters in areas close to the ACT … there are some border issues there.
''But the ACT government has been very clear that hunters are not welcome and the rangers will keep an eye on it for us.''
This financial year TAMS will spend almost $350,000 on controlling vertebrate feral animals on ACT land. But a spokesman said figures on the number of animals culled were not available as the techniques used, which include poison, made data collection impossible.
In NSW only hunters accredited by Game Council NSW will be permitted to hunt in national parks and they must register their hunts in advance and adhere to regulations.
The new legislation comes into effect on December 27, but the game council expects the program to start in early 2013.
The game council has more than 17,000 members and chairman John Mumford said in six years of forest hunting, and with 34,000 conservation hunters licensed during that period, there had been no firearms fatalities.
''At the same time, conservation hunters had successfully removed over 73,000 game and feral animals from declared state forests and over 3 million from private land in New South Wales,'' Mr Mumford said.
But Mr Rattenbury said the council was more concerned with hunting than protecting the environment.
''The game council of NSW has argued against the listing of deer as a pest species for eradication and instead they want deer classified as a game animal which then allows them to hunt.
''I don't think there is any credibility in the suggestion that this is about eradicating pest species.''