Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

So what's next for NSW, Developer Deals for National Parks?

Our national parks now confront the biggest attack on their nature conservation principles since the National Parks and Wildlife Act came into being in 1968. Plans for commercial development and blood sport threaten the very idea of national parks.

“National parks boss Ms Sally Barnes has described as a “paradigm shift” the NSW Government's plans to generate revenue from commercial activities for future park acquisitions and conservation (Sun-Herald 6/9/09). What these plans really represent is a public-private development regime involving national park land”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness .

“This paradigm shift of developing parks to generate funds is a very slippery slope. It is a blueprint for the retreat of State Government funding of parks and park jobs. At its worst it could become a vehicle for the kinds of commercial-in-confidence park acquisition arrangements that Justice David Lloyd described last week as a “land bribe” (SMH 1/9/09), Mr Muir said.

“The NSW Government needs this park commercialisation “paradigm shift” right now about as much as a hole in the head!”, Mr Muir said.

“The very purpose of national parks is to set these areas aside from development. Parks should not become the next new development opportunity for the white shoe brigade,” said Mr Muir.

If sustainability is to be achieved by our society in any shape or form, then we must put the ecological integrity of national parks and wilderness areas before our wishes for private eco-resorts, glamour camping, motor sport rallies and blood sport with dogs, bows and arrows and bullets,” he said.

The National Parks and Wildlife Act should not be amended to facilitate park development. Doing so could make the conservation efforts by the Parks Service dependent upon future park development deals and an insidious program of land bribes”, said Mr Muir.

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