THE Eurobodalla Greens remain adamantly opposed to the “HuntFest” hunting festival being proposed by the South Coast Hunters Club.
Secretary Anne Marett has written a letter to the editor outlining her and the party’s concerns, and the Narooma News meanwhile has been flooded with letters from supporters of the festival, some of which we have published.
Mrs Marett said incidents such as the recent kangaroo shooting in the Eurobodalla and more recently 12 wallabies shot dead at Ballina were reasons to be cautious about hunting and “gun culture”.
Mrs Marett also pointed to the 2002 proposal by South Coast Hunters Club for a five range shooting complex in Bodalla State Forest just southwest of Narooma.
“It was perceived that the Nature Coast concept would have been severely damaged and the volume of nature tourists diminished,” she said.
“The area would very likely have ended up poorer all round, both in economic and cultural terms.
“Such a festival every year is intended to promote hunting and to normalise this blood sport in the community. It brings to mind the type of promotion the sport gets in America.
“Our community certainly does not want to take any steps towards the situation America now finds itself in.”
HuntFest proponent Dan Field meanwhile has dismissed the Greens claims and challenged Mrs Marett to an open debate.
He said hunting occurred safely in national parks and reserves occurs in Victoria, NT, SA, Tasmania and New Zealand; without the systematic consistent State-wide controls and required accreditation that NSW has.
“There were 230,452 hunting days by Game Hunting Licence Holders on public and private land in NSW last year alone and no life threatening safety incidents reported.
Last year Game Council licensed hunters took 720,000 game and feral animals from public and private land. Since the establishment of the Game Council Licensed hunters have taken over 3.2 million game and feral animals.
“NPWS removed 24,000 animals last year from nearly 7 million hectares – this shows the challenge this organisation faces,” he said.
Mayor Fergus Thomson said his own view was it was not council’s place to block any event unless it was obviously obscene, but either way the matter would only be discussed after a new council was elected.
The club had already booked the Narooma Sport and Leisure Centre for the event next June long weekend, but needed a DA to have stalls outside.