Member for Keira Ryan Park is calling on the NSW Government to increase funding for deer management in the Illawarra.
In a speech delivered in NSW Parliament Mr Park highlighted of the severe lack of resourcing available to public and private land managers around Wollongong and throughout the Illawarra to manage the economic and environmental impacts of deer.
Mr Park said wild deer cause damage to private and public property, create safety hazards for motorists and decimate the natural environment in the Illawarra.
“Constituents are regularly calling my office to report damage to their property and are concerned by near miss motor vehicle accidents on local roads.”
Mr Park said despite some success achieved by the Illawarra Wild Deer Management Program at suppressing deer populations, numbers are still rising.
“Deer populations have adapted well to the environment around the Illawarra and if left uncontrolled numbers can double every three years.” Mr Park said
Mr Park said the Illawarra Wild Deer Management Program, led by South East Local Land Services and Wollongong City Council works with stakeholders and land managers in the region to coordinate management efforts.
“The Program is trying to manage deer across 68 sites with a mix of private and public tenures and does a marvellous job with the resources that are available. However it simply isn’t enough and the Program’s effectiveness is limited by lack of funding.”
Mr Park said the scale of the problem and the challenges of managing deer close to urban areas means total eradication isn’t a viable option.
“The Program aims to mitigate environmental, social and economic impacts of deer and suppress the establishment of new deer populations.”
“Deer management has relied heavily on culling in the past but it is time for the government to invest in the expansion of research programs and innovative management approaches in the Illawarra.”
“I have written to the Minister for Agriculture expressing my concerns about the under resourcing of deer management in the Illawarra. I will be advocating for an increase in funding in the 2020-21 NSW Budget.” Mr Park said.