Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Minister Sartor pushes park development Bill through

ATTENTION: CHIEF OF STAFF, NEWS DESK, ENVIRONMENT WRITER

“TONIGHT, Minister Frank Sartor plans to push a National Park development Bill through the NSW Parliament with bi-partisan support.  The new law is about issue of leases and licences for park development and it will make it easier to cut holes in parks for exclusive private use,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. 

“The National Parks and Wildlife (Visitors and Tourist) Bill 2010 will, if it becomes law, facilitate the issue of exclusive, private development rights in our National Parks,” Mr Muir said.

"This Bill will also see far more developer deals taking place in precisely the one place where such deals are never expected”, said Mr Muir.

“The Bill cannot be a good thing for nature conservation as it DOES NOT strictly limit development by scale and location.  No matter how the Minister puts it, the Bill does not limit development to being only small facilities on highly disturbed areas on the edges of national parks.  The legislation that can provide some of the best bits of parks to developers, and by various ways and means put these public lands to private purpose of making money out of them”, he said.

“Unless you want Sydney’s beautiful national parks with a serving junk food on the side, and coastal parks with elite enclaves offering fine restaurants and eco-resorts for exclusive private use,Sartor’s Bill is a bad law for you, and your children’s children, as well as for nature,” Mr Muir said.

“Only a tiny number of private leases are currently excised from national parks.  This Bill, with the assistance of the tourist mandarins within the new National Parks Tourist bureaucracy, will see lots more leases issued.  In fact the bureaucrat’s jobs will depend on it”, Mr Muir said.

“Wilderness will no longer be safe from commercial interests, and with the Bill allowing sporting facilities, fast food outlets, resorts, conference centres… in the future years park visitors will come to expect a drastically different park experience”, Mr Muir said. 

“The Bill heralds a generational struggle over the national park idea.  This new park management paradigm will pit the National Parks Service against environment groups time and time again in an ongoing struggle to keep national parks safe for nature”, he said. 

For more information contact: Keith Muir, 0412 791 404 (mob)

For background go tohttp://www.colongwilderness.org.au/tourism/National%20Parks_Under_Attack.htm