THE Game Council and the Shooters and Fishers Party are demanding an inquiry into why a game manager was recently suspended over claims of an illegal hunting incident on a cattle station in outback NSW.
Andy Mallen, was reinstated to his position as the Game Council's head of firearms training and law enforcement, three days after Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson had stood him down and the council's communications manager and acting chief executive, Greg McFarland.
The pair were suspended after police at the rural crimes unit in Bourke confirmed they were investigating claims two Game Council employees in a council-owned vehicle strayed across a national park and on to private property and killed a goat.
Diane Noble, the owner of Karwarn cattle station, a 110 kilometres south of Cobar, reported the incident to police. She has passed photographic evidence of the dead goat, which had been left behind, to investigators.
Mr Mallen, who had insisted he was not at Karwarn when the alleged incident took place on December 28 last year, was reinstated on Friday after police accepted he was in Sydney on that day.
The investigation continues but the Game Council has called for inquiry, claiming the allegations were leaked as part of a "smear campaign".
The council has been thrust into the spotlight over its impending role in licensing hunters when the state's national parks are opened to shooting on March 1.
Letter to the editor
Backflip a vindication
THE reinstatement of suspended Game Council NSW employee Mr Andrew Mallen has not only vindicated the individual and the organisation, but also revealed the desperation of the extreme green and animal liberation movement in their fight against any practical environmental solutions that involve responsible conservation hunters or hunting.
Mr Mallen had been suspended by the Minister following completely false allegations of illegal hunting, reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, January 23 and reprinted in this newspaper.
The Minister commented that Mr Mallen was reinstated following, “a detailed statement [given] to NSW Police by Mr Mallen that clearly proves he was in Sydney on the date of the alleged incident”.
This is just the first hole in the story; Andrew Mallen was hundreds of kilometres from where the alleged incident occurred.
How does an innocent man end up on the front page of a newspaper?
The article has simple inaccuracies, such as Mr Mallen’s proper job title, the correct one being easily obtained from the Game Council website.
This is a case of an appalling lack of journalistic fact-checking, standards and integrity.
The Sydney Morning Herald journalist who released the story should fully cooperate with the Minister’s fact-finding investigation so that the people who initiated this appalling event can be listed in the report and placed on the public record.
Simple fact-checking would also have revealed that the landowners making the accusations have a vested interest in keeping hunters away from the feral goat population in the neighbouring nature reserve.
This is a basic attack on recent government policy. The anti-hunting movement has attempted to undermine the Game Council, and hunting in general, by discrediting two of its senior employees, in order to further the unfounded smear campaign they are carrying out.
South Coast Hunters Club