LICENCED shooters will be allowed to cull pests in the State’s national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.
NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said feral animals were a scourge on farming, estimated to cost NSW agriculture $70 million a year.
“This is a sensible step that will give native fauna and our farmers better protection from feral animals,” Mr Stoner said.
“Farmers do it tough enough without also having feral animals destroying their crops and livestock.
“This will also help prevent feral animals from displacing native species through predation and competition, and from devastating threatened vegetation by grazing and trampling.”
Pigs, dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, fox, hare and deer would all be in the firing line in a limited number of areas under strict conditions, he said.
Under amendments to the Game and Feral Animal Control Act, the feral animal eradication program will be extended in 79 parks.
The amendments would expand eradication programs in around 10 per cent of the State’s national parks.
Anyone applying to cull in one of the designated areas would require written permission, have to be licensed by the Game Council, have undertaken adequate training, and comply with the access conditions established by the Minister for the Environment.
At least 24,000 feral pigs, dogs, goats, foxes, cats, rabbits and deer were destroyed in national parks in 2010-11 under existing cull policies.
Premier Barry O’Farrell said it was a logical extension of an existing policy.
Protections for native animals remain in force, with fines of up to $220,000 for harming a threatened species.