ALTHOUGH Member for Bega Andrew Constance was unable to be present when the protestors came knocking, he expressed his thanks to rally organisers for the peaceful protest.
“Can I thank Paul Farrell and the organisers for doing this very responsibly and respecting my office and staff,” Mr Constance said.
“I hear what they are saying and I’m very grateful they’ve held a peaceful protest.
“I will absolutely pass on their letter to the Premier.”
Mr Constance said the State Government’s hand “had been forced in some ways” because other parties such as Labor and the Greens have blocked its bills, but recreational hunting in national parks was not being approved without appropriate checks in place.
“As everyone would know the issue is on hold due to the inquiry into the Game Council,” he said.
“A risk assessment is still yet to be completed and peer reviewed and then reported back to Parliament.
“We are not going to do anything to put the safety of the community at risk.”
Mr Constance said he had seen the map the Greens claimed shows an area of the South East Forests National Park at Millingandi that is in the unsupervised “zone C”, but questioned the report.
“They say it’s a leaked map, but I wouldn’t know who’s drawn that map or where it came from,” he said.
He also said the Greens’ claim that motorists would be put at risk by hunters using this area of the South East National Park – which straddles a section of the Princes Hwy just north of Merimbula – was “absurd”.
“The risk assessment hasn’t even been completed yet so it’s presumptuous to be making comments on how this will be implemented.”
“If this is done in a highly regulated way with a targeted program of feral animal eradication it could work.
“But we’re still working through the risk assessment.”