HuntFest: Eurobodalla councillors respond

Eurobodalla Shire Councillors have not changed their minds on HuntFest, despite a protest on Tuesday.

Eurobodalla Shire Councillors have not changed their minds on HuntFest, despite a protest on Tuesday.

Despite more than 50 people protesting against HuntFest at Eurobodalla Shire Council on Tuesday while councillors sat inside, no minds were changed on the subject. 

The protesters, who came armed with signs and banners, presented Councillor Gabi Harding with a 40,000-signature petition against the sale of arms at the 2015 Narooma event.

Cr Harding presented it to the council meeting. 

Organiser Sheila Monahan said the protest was to show there were strong concerns about the issue. 

“It's making matters worse,” she said. 

Mrs Monahan was pleased with the turnout, despite the rain. 

“We just want councillors to realise there is a significant proportion of the community that feels strongly about this,” she said. 

Cr Rob Pollock said his decision to support the event license amendment was unchanged. 

“Hunting or fishing, it’s the same thing,” he said. 

“You are a fool if you don’t recognise the nature of the event.

“Ninety five per cent would use guns when they hunt anyway, I don’t think an event at Narooma will change that.”

He said he did not buy the protesters' arguments.

Cr Neil Burnside said the councils decision concerned the use of the venue. 

“The only reason it has come through council is because of the use of the grounds,” Cr Burnside said. 

He said the argument of those opposed to the event was “spurious”.

“They do not have a valid argument,” Cr Burnside said. 

Cr Liz Innes was also not persuaded by the protest and said old arguments were being rehashed. 

“I have listened and taken their points on board, but I still do not agree with them,” she said. 

“I don’t share their fear that making guns available means mass slaughters in Australia.”

After attending both previous HuntFests, Cr Innes said there was plenty of information available on ethical hunting. 

“If we are going to have hunting, these events are vital to keep people informed, regulated and in communication with each other,” she said. 

“It is a good legal forum.”

Cr Milton Leslight described the event as “a stage to suit a councillor’s agenda”. 

“The HuntFest organisers aren’t doing anything wrong,” he said. 

“If the community was up in arms, there would be a lot more people voicing their opinion.”

Mayor Lindsay Brown said it was “democracy at work”. 

“The councillors understand their different views on the event and will make a decision on November 25 after considering all submissions,” he said. 

Cr Danielle Brice said the protesters “behaved well”. 

“Members of the community are genuinely concerned about safety in our shire,” she said. 

Cr Brice had previously voiced her opposition to the sale of firearms at the HuntFest event. 

Cr Gabi Harding was pleased with the turn up. 

"It proves it's not just the Greens who don't want this," she said. 

"There was a really mixed group of people who came to make a stand."

In response to criticism about international signatories on the petition, Cr Harding said HuntFest supporters did the same thing in online forums. 

Councillors Peter Schwarz and Fergus Thomson were absent.

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