NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson will lead a protest bushwalk in the Lower Mountains against new laws allowing shooting in national parks.
Mountains residents have been invited to join in the walk starting at the Glenbrook entrance to Blue Mountains National Park on Saturday, June 30.
“This protest is a chance for the Blue Mountains community to tell [Premier] Barry O’Farrell we don’t want hunting in any of our pristine national parks in NSW,” Mr Robertson said in a statement.
“Opening up our national parks to armed hunters will threaten the safety of bush walkers, campers and other park users.
“It will also endanger native flora and fauna and put at risk many of our national parks’ world heritage status.
“Mr O’Farrell promised not to turn our national parks into hunting reserves, but that is exactly what is happening under his government.
“I invite the Blue Mountains community to join me on this bushwalk to send a message to the premier that we won’t stand by while he breaks his promise not to open up our national parks to recreational hunters.”
The walk was announced following the passage of the legislation through State Parliament late last Thursday night.
Put forward by the Shooters and Fishers Party, the new laws will allow amateur hunters to shoot in 79 of the state’s national parks and reserves.
Blue Mountains National Park is not on the list of approved areas for shooters, however opponents fear the new legislation has left the way open for such a move in the future.
The laws passed as part of a deal to privatise the state’s electricity assets, and they have been criticised by Labor, the Greens and conservationists.
The protest walk will start at 10am and residents have been asked to wear a high visibility orange shirt or vest to highlight the dangers of hunting in national parks.
Opposition environment spokesman Luke Foley said the state’s most pristine national parks were being “sacrificed for the sake of a political deal.
“Most concerning is the fact that the legislation allows all national parks to be opened up to shooting instead of restricting hunters to the 79 national parks originally announced by the premier,” he said in the statement.
“At the stroke of the minister’s pen, the Blue Mountains could be added to the list of national parks open to the shooters.”