EUROBODALLA Shire Council has endorsed a motion from Councillor Gabi Harding that will ensure that there is community consultation if the organisers of the Huntfest event in Narooma apply for any further amendments to their operating licence.
The motion was carried with amendments that also included that consultation would be required in regards to weaponry or arms amendments in the year leading up to next year’s event only, and that a report on the consultation would be presented back to Council 49 days after the start of the 28 day exhibition period.
Clr Harding was pleased that the motion was carried and said that the amendments put forward by her colleagues were all part of the democratic process and did not detract from the intent of her original motion.
‘The motion was to ensure residents had a chance to have their say,’ said Cr Harding. ‘The issue is clearly a contentious one for the community; there are strong views both in support of and against the possibility of gun sales at the Huntfest event in the future.
‘While I understand that Council is not obliged to consult on matters such as amendments to event licences, in a situation like this where the community has been quite vocal about wanting to be consulted, it makes sense to invite interested residents to have their say.
‘This process allows councillors to be fully briefed on the community’s views if a further decision in regards to the event licence conditions has to be made.’
Councillor Harding’s recommendation was that any amendments to the existing licence would go on public exhibition for 28 days and the community would be notified of the opportunity to provide feedback through Council’s communication channels, including its website, and the local media.
The original application to hold the event was approved by Council at its October 2012 ordinary meeting. The event as put forward was a photo and DVD competition that included stalls promoting and selling game meats, local seafood and displays of camping and hunting equipment and 4WD vehicles, local wine tasting and displays by other interested organisations.
In November 2013, the organisers applied for an amendment to the licence to allow them to display firearms, display and operate hunting simulators and conduct archery introduction courses within a steel shipping container. This was approved by Council in December 2013 and the 2014 event was held in June.
Council has not received an application from the organisers of Huntfest for any further amendments to their event licence.