PARKS MEET­ING

Lo­cals urged to lodge in­quiry sub­mis­sions

Southern Riverina news - - News -

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.

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