NSW Government response: NRC review of pest animal management

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The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) conducted an independent, state‑wide review of the management of pest animals in NSW. In 2016, it provided a comprehensive report to Government identifying key focus areas and 33 recommendations for opportunities to improve pest animal management across all land tenures.

The NSW Government is developing an extensive reform package with a regional planning focus to better safeguard the State from biosecurity risks, including the threats posed by pest animals. These legislative, governance and operational reforms are outlined in the Government’s response to the NRC review and reflect the Government’s commitment to delivering improved biosecurity outcomes, and strategic and coordinated pest animal management.

Key themes identified by the NRC where the NSW Government is taking action include:

  • ensuring strong and responsive pest animal risk management that is outcomes-focused and based on regional priorities
  • strengthening governance and planning frameworks at the local, regional and state scale
  • enabling communities to better engage with managing biosecurity and pest animal risks
  • implementing more strategic management practices
  • improving the knowledge base through long-term prioritised research activities
  • targeting funding to areas that achieve highest public benefit

The NRC review emphasised the need to adopt a more strategic and peoplecentric approach to securing NSW’s biosecurity future. The NSW Government is delivering on this through its extensive biosecurity reform package and a regional planning focus, which is designed to foster community participation in safeguarding our State from biosecurity risks, including pest animals.

Regional focus

Regional pest animal management plans will be developed in each Local Land Services (LLS) region in close consultation with biosecurity stakeholders, adapted and targeted to each region’s needs. These plans will guide investment decisions for existing government, industry and individual landholder resources that can be dedicated to coordinated pest animal management.

This regional approach will ensure that pest animal management tools, actions, and investments are catered to the needs and impacts experienced in each region.

Strong governance framework

A State Pest Animal Committee will be established to complement the State Weeds Committee, and revitalise State oversight of pest management.

The NSW Government will continue to collaborate closely with the Australian Government and other states and territories through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS), by supporting research that focuses on detection and prevention strategies, and through the expansion of the PestSmart portal and FeralScan.

Feral deer

A NSW Deer Management Strategy will be released to provide guidance to all stakeholders about the impacts and management of feral deer.

Deer will be retained in Schedule 3 Part 1; of the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002, with hunters requiring a licence. At the same time, through the re-developed Ecological Deer Management program, the NSW Government will continue to permit the suspension of deer hunting regulations in areas where numbers of deer have increased and deer have been identified in regional pest plans due to the risk they pose to primary production, the environment, and the community.

Hunting and firearms

The NSW Government will continue to provide for responsible and accountable hunting of game and feral animals on public and private land. The Government supports the use of approved hunting organisation membership and programs to link hunters with landholders.

Importantly, the controls over the licensing, compliance and registration of firearms in NSW, administered by the Firearms Registry, will continue to apply to control pest hunting activities.

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