Sunday Territorian

‘No space’ for reserves


ENVIRONMEN­T Minister Eva Lawler has now put it in writing that she has no idea where a new hunting reserve can go.

This comes one year after her pre-election promise that the NT Land Corporatio­n (NTLC) was trying to identify a new area for hunting.

In her statement she said the NTLC would be consulting with hunting organisati­ons. This certainly wasn’t the case in regard to contacting NT Field and Game about possible sites.

Surprising­ly, the only time I have seen any correspond­ence regarding NTLC land it was in regard to Beatrice Hill Research Farm.

At the time it was stated it might be a chance, but Ms Lawler threw that out in a meeting in early July when she said nothing could be found.

What was even more astonishin­g Ms Lawler has stated in a letter that the areas that NT Field and Game (NTFGA) put forward that are on Conservati­on Land Corporatio­n holdings are not suitable either.

These areas are: Melacca Swamp, Black Jungle Reserve, Mary River Reserve, McKinlay Reserve. These areas are managed by NT Parks and Wildlife (NTPWC) and in 2012 NTPWC came to Field and Game and offered Mary River and McKinlay Reserve options when leases lapsed. Those leases lapsed in 2020.

“I also sought advice from the Department of Environmen­t, Parks and Water Security regarding a number of suggestion­s made by Mr Irwin on possible land holdings that could be considered for waterfowl hunting,” Ms Lawler wrote. “I was subsequent­ly advised that Black Jungle Conservati­on Reserve, Melacca Swamp Conservati­on Area and Mary River Conservati­on Reserve – including Hardies Lagoon and McKinley Sector (South West Corner) were not considered suitable for waterfowl hunting.”

Are you kidding me, not suitable for waterfowl hunting? Pig’s bum, they’re not suitable.

While government­s of all persuasion­s seem to love a water park, Territory Labor have no intention of making a new hunting reserve a reality. A hunting reserve would be much cheaper to run and provide safety to hunters now crowded into four hunting reserves of which two are generally dry for the majority of the hunting season. They already own the land and have to manage it by themselves.

In the 2012 meeting with Parks, NT Field and Game offered to jointly manage the wetlands with the new lease holder.

Field and Game have a track record going back 20 years on weed and litter management in Harrison Dam, Lambells Lagoon and Shoal Bay Coastal Reserves. How long will it take for the penny to drop that NT Field and Game are the best friend a goose could have when it comes to life saving habitat protection?

Last week I showed how the NT EPA have signed off on overhead transmissi­on lines spanning Black Jungle reserve that will result in geese, brolga and jabiru being fried when they strike the power lines.

No one else other than Field and Game have recognised this threat.

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