There’s been a media report in The Guardian that the NSW Government is planning to privatise part of its state forest holdings - which is obviously going to be an extremely bad thing for state forest hunting scheme there.
We sent this release out today to media across NSW, although to be honest we know full well everyone is on holidays. Still, it might make the week a bit easier for some poor cadet journo who drew the short straw and has to work over the break.
We’ll be following up with MPs in the New Year, especially once more info becomes available.
NEW SOUTH WALES’ $120 million state forest hunting programme is at serious risk from
plans by the Government to privatise parts of its state forest holdings, says Australia’s
leading pro-shooting organisation.
The plans, reported by The Guardian late last week during the traditional Christmas-New
year ‘quiet period’, involve the NSW government reportedly looking into selling off the
long-term lease rights to the approximately 230,000ha of softwood plantations currently
managed by the state-owned Forestry Corporation.
NSW has an active and highly successful state forest hunting programme and Shooters
Union Australia president Graham Park said that was now under threat as a result of the
“This privatisation has the potential to seriously curtail legal state forest hunting in NSW,
with disastrous consequences for law-abiding shooters and the state’s already crippled
rural economy,” he said.
“Whoever takes the Government up on the lease offer isn’t likely to want hunters in ‘their’
timber plantation with guns, so you can bet they’ll be putting a stop to state forest hunting
– or ensuring it never becomes a possibility – there as soon as the ink on the lease
agreement is dry.”
According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Economic Impact of Recreational
Hunting in NSW report, in 2017 alone, recreational hunting in NSW accounted for $119m of
Gross State Product and 860 jobs within the state economy.
Mr Park said the programme had been a huge success, regularly bringing licensed hunters
from Victoria and Queensland to NSW to participate in the state forest hunting prog
“They’re certainly not going to bother coming now if 230,000ha of state forest is forever
closed to them,” he said.
Mr Park said the proposed forestry assets sale was short-sighted and would end up hurting
the already devastated rural areas of the state.
“The bushfires and drought are already devastating the rural economy and the Government
needs to be encouraging people, when conditions allow, to visit the state’s regional areas,
experience them, and contribute to the local economy,” Mr Park said.
“Selling off regional assets might look good on someone’s balance sheet in Macquarie St,
but the cost to our struggling regions – not to mention the impact on the state’s more than
250,000 law-abiding firearms users – far outweighs this one-off boost to the Treasury.”