Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Government report an attack on national parks and wilderness areas

“This morning's release of a final Tourism and National Parks Taskforce report that outlines how parks and wilderness will be developed for the commercial tourism industry, without a public comment and review period, sums up what's wrong with the NSW Government. We promise the Government a big fight over deregulation of national park and wilderness laws, having seen the disastrous results of deregulation of our planning laws,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

The NSW Government will earn double demerit points if it turns its back on Labor's long history as the champion of nature conservation in NSW. These plans to weaken our park and wilderness protection laws must be dropped, said Mr Muir.

“You would have thought after the V8 supercar racing at Homebush debacle that the NSW Government could have worked out that the ‘here you are, now cop it sweet' approach is a huge vote loser,” Mr Muir said.

“The impact of this scheme to weaken our national park and wilderness laws could be severe. The specific proposals for private commercial infrastructure in national parks (so-called eco-resorts, cabins and glamour camps) will hatch out later, but already a major cultural change is underway within the National Parks and Wildlife Service. As more government resources are diverted away from nature conservation towards management of private tourism, the role of the Parks Service as a keeper and defender of nature becomes weaker. Already almost a quarter of the Parks Service has been diverted into a so-called Tourism and Partnerships Branch, while important conservation initiatives are not resourced,” he said.

“The hot air about private development in parks freeing up resources for nature conservation is rubbish. Look at the excessive development of Kosciuszko, those resorts suck up government money for infrastructure and it won't be different for other parks”, Mr Muir said.

The Government should help regional NSW to develop tourism facilities in their towns and rural districts where it benefits the community most and builds on local infrastructure. Constructing facilities with private money in national parks is just stupid, it competes with the tourism facilities in the surrounding community, as well as degrades our wonderful, intact natural parks,” he said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)