Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Campaign update - National Parks under attack

Campaign Update - National Parks under Attack

In December 2008, a National Parks Tourism Taskforce report was adopted by the then Government recommending the removal of 'green tape' from the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. These changes were made to help national parks pay their way, not just through increased visitor numbers, but also by skimming profits from on-park commercial development.

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Visitors and Tourists) Act, 2010 has removed the legal protection from National Parks against bad development:  - see the second expert advice from Mr Robertson SC.

The Office of Environment and Heritage could now come under increasing pressure to raise staff salaries through national park development as the NSW Government has cut 350 jobs from the Office of Environment and Heritage meaning some parks will go unstaffed (Cubby and Tovey, SMH, 16, July, 2012).

Environment groups want sustainable visitation, not exclusive and commercially-driven use:

Go to the Nature Parks - Take Action page

What could happen when the NSW Government monetises the National Parks brand

Dr Graeme Worboys, international park expert and former NPWS senior management executive outlines how the tourism bill (now Act) threatens the conservation status of our National Parks.

Can we afford wilderness? Prof. Ralf Buckley, leading ecotourism expert of Griffith University explains that accommodation inside national parks "is neither affordable nor sustainable".

Also below is an article by Keith Muir that outlines the Threats to National Parks and Wilderness of Tourism Development (2005).

In 2009 several public meetings unanimously resolved to oppose private development in national parks.

If you don't believe this is happening, please examine the NSW national park "Accommodation Investment Prospectus" from the draft Tourism Masterplan for the Wilderness Coast . This document is a blueprint for promoting the sale of national park lands to developers! And on the mid-north coast at Trial Bay DECC plans to develop a foreshore resort in competition with resorts on private land - its a crazy park move that's a threat to tourism.

It gets even worse. The Alps Master Plan proposes canvas resorts on the Main Range of Kosciuszko National Park. The Parks Service even proposed knocking three holes in the Green Gully Wilderness to allow for commercial helicopters operations. Green Gully was purchased after a fund raising campaign to honour the Dunphy's contribution to conservation. Although the chopper access was removed, this scheme set a precedent of National Parks and Wildlife Service operated commercial cabins in declared wilderness. The Department's development obsessed executive does not seem to understand even the most basic wilderness conservation principles.

Ms Sally Barnes believes that its time "for a paradigm shift" toward commercial development in national parks to raise funds for the NPWS to undertake conservation and land acquisition. This pipe-dream of green-wash spin would see park development benefit resort owners most, and reduce the benefit of tourism to local communities. It will not grow revenue for the NPWS as the cost to park management is being ignored. For example, $4.8 million will be spent on infrastructure in Kosciuszko National Park in this year in an attempt to prop up tourism there.

More details are found in the Don't Sell Our Parks to Fund Your Deficit from Bulletin #235, (If you would like to read more, download attached .pdf 14KB)  National Parks Development Update from Bulletin # 232 (If you would like to read more, download attached .pdf) and the Selling out Parks article, from Bulletin #227, (If you would like to read more, download attached .pdf) provides further background.

We want sustainable visitation, not exclusive and commercially-driven use

The NSW Government wants to encourage the construction of exclusive tourist resorts in national parks. The government is holding up the example of the Bay of Fires Cabins in Tasmania as a desirable development for our national parks.

See how this Bay of Fires Cabin is blocking one of the nation’s most beautiful foreshores.

Don't let tourism development of this sort breakdown the integrity of ecosystems and spoil vital wilderness corridors critical to the survival of endangered animals in our national parks.