Shooters Party hunt parks plan

GUNS could soon be blazing in the wilds of National Parks surrounding the Tweed under a secret deal between the NSW Government and the Shooters Party - but parks closer to sensitive Labor voting Sydney electorates would be exempted.

According to Sydney media reports and the Greens Party, the Government has had secret talks with Shooters Party members of the Upper House who have been blocking government legislation until agreement is reached.

Border Ranges National Park and possibly Mt Warning National park are among those near the Queensland and South Australian borders where shooting could be allowed.

Greens Upper House MP and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon claims Environment Minister John Robertson is behind the move she says would offer the Shooters Party a new deal to hunt in 13 national parks.

Ms Rhiannon yesterday warned it was “an explosive political issue for Labor” and “a huge set back to Premier Nathan Rees' attempt to rebuild an environmentally friendly image for his government”.

She rejected claims by Mr Rees that any agreement would centre on controlling feral pests.

“Hunting in national parks has nothing to do with managing feral animals,” she said.

“It is an attempt by Labor to do a deal with the Shooters Party MPs to secure support for their legislative program.”

Ms Rhiannon said Mr Robertson's decision to reopen talks with the Shooters MPs on hunting in national parks was a setback for leading Labor ministers Carmel Tebbutt and Verity Firth who are up against a strong Greens challenge in their inner city seats.

“There is widespread community anger about the Shooters bill to hunt in national parks,” she said.

“The Greens parliamentary office has received more than a thousand emails and letters calling for the plan to be rejected.”

But Mr Rees told Sydney media he did not think most people would take issue with any plan for “getting rid of animals that wreck the environment, wild pigs, dogs that sort of thing”.

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