Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Interest groups come before conservation as new law cuts 1000 hectare hole in the Bargo State Conservation Area

“Never before have holes been cut in the national parks estate to accommodate the demands of political lobby groups.  The National Parks and Wildlife (Adjustment of Areas) Act 2006, passed last night means that calls for parks to be revoked can be successful, not for development but for narrow interest groups”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

The decision to revoke 1000 hectares will encourage other opponents of national parks to campaign to revoke other park areas.  Park critics in the Capertee Valley have already sought to 'reclaim' the Gardens of Stone and Turon River National Park and such moves should be discouraged, Mr Muir said.

I again call on the Government and Coalition Parties to promise that national parks and state conservation areas will remain permanent and protected.  Reserves should not be revoked for private interests such as the Sporting Shooters Association and the Combined Four Wheel Drive Clubs, or loggers or miners interests.

NPA believes that the large area removed from the Nattai national park complex and handed over to the shooters is a bad outcome for the environment.

There are no alternative protection measures in place to safeguard future development or selling-off of the pristine bushland of the Rocky Waterholes Creek gorge.

It is disgraceful that alternative sites outside the national park system were not even investigated.

While some small areas of bushland previously earmarked for new shooting ranges are now to be added to Dharawhal and Wollemi national parks, these should not been seen as compensation. The shooting ranges on these sites should never have been contemplated.

The legislation passed last night also created the long-awaited Bargo River State Conservation Area. Unfortunately two thirds of the area originally proposed by NPA Macarthur Branch remains unprotected, including a huge corridor diving the area in two pieces for a future road through the bushland valley.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)