MLC to table Hunt Bill

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Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Rick Mazza with advocates of recreational hunting on the steps of the WA Parliament in 2015.
Camera IconShooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Rick Mazza with advocates of recreational hunting on the steps of the WA Parliament in 2015. Credit: WA News

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Rick Mazza says recreational hunting on public land could help protect the South West’s biodiversity.

Mr Mazza told the Times he planned to table a Bill in Parliament by the end of the year, which would introduce recreational hunting across the State and benefit the South West by curbing the prevalence of feral animals like pigs, foxes and cats.

Mr Mazza is pushing the idea despite the rejection of a Parliamentary Committee recommendation to introduce recreational hunting by the then Liberal State Government in 2015 because of safety concerns.

“It would provide environmental assistance at virtually no cost to the public and tourism could be boosted through hunters coming in and paying for fuel and accommodation,” he said.

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia WA president Ron Bryant said he supported the opening up of public land, with members of the organisation currently working alongside the Government in pest control, which was done at no cost.

“It is of big benefit for the community and is already carried out in other States and if it is done properly, the biggest benefit is for the environment,” he said.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions undertakes a range of animal control programs across department-managed lands, unallocated crown land and unmanaged reserves alongside other agencies and groups.

Shadow environment minister and Margaret River-based MLC Steve Thomas said he supported the use of adequately assessed and trained recreational shooters to help the department in the targeted culling of feral animals but not the premise of “every licensed firearm holder having unregulated access to State and public land to hunt feral animals”.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the effect of feral animals in public reserves could not be underestimated and the issue must be addressed.

Shadow environment minister and Margaret River-based MLC Steve Thomas did not support the premise “every licensed firearm holder having unregulated access to State and public land to hunt feral animals”.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he was aware of the proposal but no discussions had been held. Mr Dawson said the DBCA continued to work at a regional level to identify and consider opportunities to engage with recognised recreational hunting and shooting groups to help with strategic pest control programs.

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