NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker will have the power to veto or green-light shooting in national parks under a Shooters Party bill that critics fear could open hundreds of reserves to guns.
The state government unveiled in May a list of 79 national parks and reserves where recreational shooters would be allowed to cull feral animals.
The move was part of a deal reached with the Shooters Party to enable the privatisation of electricity generators.
Shooters Party MP Robert Brown introduced a bill enabling the changes to the upper house on Thursday as more than 100 protesters demonstrated outside Parliament House against the plan.
"In my mind, there is no better `professional' body than the Game Council, and no more dedicated conservationists than the volunteer conservation hunters, when it comes to the control of game and feral animals in NSW," he told parliament.
The bill doesn't specifically list the 79 national parks and reserves where shooting would be allowed.
Instead, it proposes to give the environment minister the power "to make that land available for the hunting of game animals by persons who hold a game hunting licence".
Under the bill, shooting is banned in areas in and around Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann told demonstrators on Macquarie Street the bill did not stipulate which parks and reserves would host shooting, which meant there were potentially hundreds of other conservation areas where shooters could fire their guns.
NSW is home to 799 national parks and reserves, and the bill specifically excludes 48 areas.
Ms Faehrmann described the arrangement with the Shooters for their support of power privatisation as "the dirtiest deal that I think this state has ever seen".
Addressing parliamentary question time, Ms Parker said the government was still working out the details of the Shooters Party bill, which has been deferred for debate until Tuesday next week.
"Details of the program are being worked out at the moment but I can tell you that it's not a 24-7 program, it's not a 365-days a year program," she said.
"I've met with environment groups ... I'm meeting members of the union tomorrow, we'll continue to work out the details."
Rangers belonging to the Public Service Association (PSA) and professional feral animal cullers with the Australian Workers' Union joined demonstrators dressed in kangaroo and owl costumes on Thursday morning.
Veteran National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Kim de Govrik told the rally that shooting in national parks would jeopardise the safety of rangers and bushwalkers.
"We are entitled to feel safe at work. We want our members' safety to be guaranteed and we want the safety of 35 million park visitors per annum to also be guaranteed," he said.Opposition Leader John Robertson told the rally he had rejected a Shooters' Party push to allow hunting in national parks when he was environment minister in the former Labor government.
By Stephen Johnson, West Australian