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New South Wales Government Sees Risk From Park Hunters

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Workers and visitors at Australian national parks in New South Wales risk being shot dead if a ban on hunting is lifted next year, the Sun-Herald newspaper reported citing a state government paper.

There is a high risk to families, hunters, parks’ workers and people living adjacent to the sites from “projectiles causing death and serious injury”, according to the briefing document cited by the Sydney-based newspaper. The paper, dated Dec. 10, was produced by the Office of Environment and Heritage, which operates within New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell’s office, the paper said.

O’Farrell’s government said on May 30 that 79 of the state’s national parks would be opened to people hunting feral animals such as pigs, dogs, cats and goats. The same day, the government announced it was going ahead with plans to sell state-owned electricity generators after securing support from the Shooters and Fishers Party, which has two seats in the 93-member state legislative assembly.

The document was leaked to members of the opposition Labor and Green parties and passed to the newspaper on Friday, the Sun-Herald said.

Robyn Parker, the state’s environment minister, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News today that the risk assessment produced in the government paper was “routine procedure” and hunters will have to pass tests and be licensed club members before they’re allowed to shoot in the parks.

“Safety will always be paramount,” Parker said.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at dfickling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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