If the facts are as stated (and that is for a court to decide), then what happened is inexcusable and I don’t seek to excuse it.
A Department of Environment and Heritage worker is believed to have been shot dead while attending a property 55 kilometres north of Moree.
A source at the department said the worker had been serving a notice on an elderly man at the property when he was shot.
The man was receiving the notice because he was suspected of illegally clearing vegetation.
(h/t Eryk Bagshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald )
There are calls for better protections for “frontline workers” in the wake of this incident, and that is fair enough, but something else which should be considered is that none of this would have happened if the government wasn’t interfering with how people run their own land. If people wish to clear land which they own, then the government should not be in a position to stop them. It is not as if the NSW Government, in particular, has been a beacon of great sense with such interference either as they are the people who refused to let people make fire breaks on their own land…land which burned as a result.
If governments wish to dictate how land is managed, then the government should take ownership of such land after (and only after) providing reasonable compensation. The NSW Government, thanks to laws (The Native Vegetation Act — Thanks Jim Ball) passed by Bob Carr’s government, are not required to provide any compensation and, as a result, seem to think they can dictate to all and sundry about how land should be managed, despite their own dismal record.