What We Believe
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party strongly supports safeguarding our natural environment. After all, shooting, hunting, fishing, and four-wheel driving all require one thing to survive: the environment! We understand how important it is to protect our environment for future generations. We recognise the ongoing degradation of our natural environment and that current management is not working. Rather than offer empty slogans, the Shooters and Fishers Party can offer practical benefits for the environment.
The environment is fundamental to everyone in NSW. It faces many threats and requires an adaptive management to achieve sustainability for future generations. Rather than offer empty slogans and promises, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will achieve practical benefits for the environment. Environmental laws should be framed for the greater good and not appease of cave into a minority pressure viewpoint, striking the right balance between responsible usage and preservation.
The best way to do this is not by ‘locking it away’ and restricting access in the hope of preservation, but to actively manage our landscape to conserve and enhance biodiversity. Communities are an essential part of this model, and without active community support all conservation efforts will fail. An adaptive, evidence-based solution to biodiversity and biosecurity risks is appropriate. Hunters and fishers are apart of this solution, not the problem, and are well positioned ‘on the ground’ to help manage and eradicate pest species, as well as identify biosecurity risks, in protecting our native environment.
Our Action Plan
The ‘triple bottom line’
Decisions taken by natural resource managers, including all NSW Government Departments, need to a give balanced consideration to environmental, social and economic issues during the decision making process.
Biodiversity conservation must be maintained along with social and economic activity, the two are not mutually exclusive. Biodiversity in NSW is continuing to be lost and reversing the ongoing loss of biodiversity requires radical change to current approaches including the active involvement and recognition of the community. Active adaptive management must replace the ‘lock-it-up-and-leave-it’ approach of the past. Biodiversity conservation in NSW requires a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) reserve system. In line with Australia’s international footprint, we fully endorse all of the goals of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity.
Bushfire Risk Management
Recent catastrophic events both here and overseas tell us that we must change bushfire risk management to protect biodiversity. High intensity wild-fires destroy biodiversity over vast areas and for long periods. We believe active intervention to reduce fuel loads can be accomplished by an integrated approach using all available methods. The re-instatement and maintenance of fire trails on all public lands is an essential part of this intervention. Controlled burning is a viable option in order to restore Native Forest health and mitigate risk of future uncontrolled wild fires.
Environmental water flows
Environmental water flows should not be set without consideration of the impacts on regional communities and fish stocks. Environmental water flows must be designed and correctly managed to maintain riverine and riparian biodiversity, not appease leftist agendas.
Recognise the value of hunters and fishers
Introduced species and pest animals cost Australia up to $1 billion annually. Best practice animal management involves managing the actual, rather than the perceived impacts and focusing on those impacts rather than on the pests themselves. We recognise that some introduced species are a valued resource – sheep, cattle and pigs sustain our food security. We will vigorously pursue the introduction of volunteer conservation hunting to control vertebrate pests on all NSW public lands, and provide further recreational opportunities to hunters, as well as an economic resource for regional NSW. We will also work to rationalise the Marine Parks Authority and Fisheries NSW into a single government agency responsible for marine biodiversity in NSW, reporting to the Minister responsible for Fisheries.
Reject the precautionary principle
If the precautionary principle were used on itself, we’d be forced to abandon it very quickly. The principle offers no viable reasoning or scientific rationalism in the conservation of the environment, rather is just another example of green bureaucracy gone mad. Rather, decisions should be made on clear, evidence based criteria before the precautionary principle is invoked.
It is apparent that the original goal of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1967 to encourage visitation has failed. National Parks as originally envisaged, should be sustainably managed for multiple use activity including conservation and recreation and be made accessible to all. We believe the focus should be on improving the active management of National Parks. National Parks should only be established following a thorough land assessment, as is required for all other Crown Land allocations in NSW according to the Crown Lands Act 1989 and after assessing the impact on contiguous landholders.
Wilderness provides important conservation functions but this should not exclude low-impact recreation, such as fishing, hunting and bushwalking. Our wilderness would be more highly valued by society if access was not deliberately discouraged and impeded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
Forests are an important multi-use, sustainable resource which should be maintained and actively managed. Under a new model, all forests, including those in national parks, would be managed by a single, state-based, natural resources agency. We support vigorous and healthy forests in NSW with a return to active management and sustainable utilisation of forest resources throughout this state, without politically motivated intervention and interference of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and other government departments. Forestry is not incompatible with conservation as many of these natural areas would benefit from the introduction of active management.
Vertebrate Native Species
Native species management decisions must be evidence based. The sustainable management of native species will be dependent on the desired outcomes for that species. Sustainable utilisation of native species is an internationally recognised conservation management tool and should form the basis for management and assessment of outcomes. Management must be cost and time effective, and timely.
Invasive Native Species
Woody weeds, although native species, need to be managed to maintain biological diversity.
We will pursue a review to all biodiversity legislation to facilitate the active management across all land tenures of invasive native species.
The vast majority of development will continue to take place along the NSW coastline. Therefore, our coastline requires very careful and active management. In order to protect this sensitive environment, and at the same time recognise increasing population pressures, coastal management requires more rigorous and integrated planning processes. Coastal integrity should be maintained while maintaining access and property values. Prioritising of stabilisation and property protection is paramount.
Estuaries are a critical habitat for maintaining biodiversity. The health of estuaries must be better managed. By nature, estuaries are subject to heavy human intervention, and as such they need to managed as multi-use environments in a manner that ensures the health of estuaries. Like coastal environment, this can only occur by a unitary management approach across all agencies.
What This Means For You
Consistent with the above the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will pursue the urgent adoption of new management approaches based on adaptive management and sustainability principles to improve biodiversity conservation in NSW. We will continue to pursue a balance between safeguarding the environment and sustainable utilisation of natural resources.
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will work to ensure that all Government agencies responsible for management of natural resources receive training to enable staff and managers to understand and embrace our new approach to biodiversity and environment management. This will require government agencies, natural resource managers, community groups and society at large to change and make innovative, challenging and sometimes unfamiliar decisions. Facts and science should guide environmental policy, not emotion and politics.
The starting point for implementing the necessary changes to biodiversity and environment management in NSW are so fundamental that it is essential that all people recognise the importance and the profoundness of the changes that are needed.
We will work tirelessly to ensure that biodiversity and environment management practices deployed on NSW public lands and waters are reviewed and amended to improve outcomes in biodiversity conservation.
Hunters and fishers ought to be recognised for their conservation efforts, not restricted through lock away approaches. We will vigorously pursue further opportunities for hunters and fishers in helping manage and eradicate biosecurity risks and pest animals. Government agencies, such as National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Land Services need to work with hunters and fishers in safeguarding our environment, not against them.