Locals urged to lodge inquiry submissions
Locals are invited to a public meeting on the NSW Government’s upper house inquiry into the conversion of local National Parks.
The meeting will be held at the Mathoura Bowling Club at 6pm on Wednesday, June 6.
Shooters and Fishers Party Riverina branch chairman Jim Muirhead says the meeting will inform people about writing submissions to the inquiry.
‘‘And [the meeting is to] get any ideas off the floor about any problems people have been having since National Parks have been implemented,’’ he said.
Mr Muirhead said those who make submissions may be called to speak with the parliamentary committee about their concerns.
‘‘They’re trying to get facts off people,’’ he said.
‘‘Then they will also ask you if you have any other ways and means of making things better for the process.’’
However, Mr Muirhead said if people cannot attend a hearing, they do not have to go.
‘‘It’s not a mandatory thing,’’ he said.
Local stakeholders and Member for Murray-darling John Williams have been pushing for the inquiry since local state forests were converted to National Parks in July 2010.
The Shooters and Fishers Party also played a major role in getting the inquiry going.
Mr Muirhead urged people affected by the National Parks decision to make a submission.
‘‘We want individual ones; we want community group ones as well,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s very important that people do it. It’s taken two years to get this thing up and running.’’
When writing a submission, locals should consider what we had before and what we have now, he added.
For example, Mr Muirhead said tourist numbers have been reduced as camping restrictions were introduced.
He also criticised the lack of ‘thinning’ in local forests, the restriction on hunting and the Natural Resources Commission’s report on the forests.
‘‘Now they’re paying people to go in [to the forests] with helicopters and shoot feral animals. Now the taxpayer has to pay professional shooters,’’ he said.
‘‘[And] when they did the NRC report it was in the middle of the drought.
‘‘That’s the sort of stuff that we think people should be putting in their submissions.’’
Mr Muirhead said a submission can be anything from one line to 10 pages.
He said the inquiry will also look at broader public land issues, such as the purchase of Yanga Station which became a National Park.
‘‘Yanga Station was bought by the government for $33 million,’’ he said.
‘‘Are we getting ripped off as taxpayers?’’
However, he conceded the inquiry may not make a difference ‘‘in the end’’.
‘‘It’s up to the government whether they take the [inquiry’s] recommendations or not,’’ he said.
Mr Muirhead also questioned whether the Coalition cannot - or will not - reverse the local National Parks decision.
‘‘They do have the numbers to do it,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s just whether they want to do it.
‘‘With the Shooters and Fishers, and the Christian Democratic Party in the upper house in NSW, they can actually change anything.’’
Mr Muirhead also said Mr Williams has done a ‘‘good job’’.
‘‘He’s got a hard job and he’s done a really good job with his hands tied a fair bit,’’ he said.
Following the public meeting at Mathoura, Mr Muirhead believes more meetings may be held, including one in Deniliquin.