Recently the Sydney Morning Herald (19.6.10) carried comments by ex-NSW Game Council CEO David Dixon. Mr Dixon’s comments are a useful insight into the workings of the NSW Game Council, so for educational purposes we record them on our website. Mr Dixon notes that:
Game Council NSW is not a modern government agency dispassionately fulfilling its statutory object: ”To provide for the effective management of introduced species of game animals, and to promote responsible and orderly hunting of those game animals on public and private land and of certain pest animals on public land.” It is a deeply flawed, quasi-public gift to the Shooters Party, compromised by hunting factions, jobs for hunters, dominant personalities and profound and unsolvable conflicts of interests.
Which is a tragedy of sorts, because its raison d’etre – to educate, train and regulate recreational hunters to ”remove” feral animals from state forests – does have merit from a coldly objective point of view.
But allowing a government agency that is supposed to regulate hunting legislation to be dominated by representatives of hunting clubs does not exactly endow it with a clear and unambiguous field of action.
What other NSW agency, for instance, spends tens of thousands of dollars on ads featuring the chairman, who also happened to be the chairman of the Shooters Party, and a political candidate at the next state election?
Or was it when I found myself watching with the renowned American deer expert Brian Murphy – flown over, wined and dined by the council for a lecture to a half-filled auditorium of paid attendees – a home video of an old, crippled stag barely able to walk, being shot in fast and slo-mo replay to the strains of Another One Bites the Dust?
Was it when my boss told me a number of times that our greatest public relations disaster – the exposure of the lurid details of a boastful hunt of an African elephant by our chairman Robert Borsak – was, in Robert’s eyes, “our greatest triumph”?
Or when I saw potential licensed hunters directed to the answers for the council’s “world-class licensing system” test, or heard them being told “if you have any problems, I’ll help you out”?
Or was it when our expensive compliance team – equipped with four-wheel drives, satellite phones, all-terrain tyres, inspectorial powers, quad bikes, and seemingly unlimited expense accounts – did not make one arrest at a huge illegal pig-dog hunting event in a southern NSW forest? Despite a number of our game managers being present, the illegal hunters were let off with warnings.
Also on 19.6.10 SMH journalist Rick Feneley commented on Mr Dixon’s experiences and examined the Game Council’s response. Readers should refer to Mr Feneley’s article in the SMH on 19.6.10 to see the Game Council’s defence. Mr Feneley also noted that:
Three other sacked Game Council employees have backed some of Mr Dixon’s claims, particularly that jobs are given to recreational hunters while they, with their backgrounds in environmental science and feral animal control, have been forced out.
One told the Herald it is a privileged ”boys’ club of trophy deer hunters” which – rather than trying to eradicate the animals from state forests – limits the number of bucks that may be shot to preserve the sport and its prized targets, the stags with their antlers.