The NSW Government and the Shooters and Fishers Party have initiated an Upper House inquiry into the management of public land in NSW, including state forests and the national park estate.
UPDATE: An extension has been granted for submissions to this inquiry. Submissions are now due by Friday, 31 August.
The chair of the inquiry is Mr Robert Brown of the Shooters and Fishers Party.
NCC is concerned that this inquiry will be used to oppose reservation of new national parks and to allow degradation of the existing national park estate through grazing, logging, and high impact recreation such as four wheel driving and horse riding.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are highly skewed in favour of economic interests and fail to adequately cover the importance of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system to provide resilience for our natural environment. Our conservation areas are important not only for biodiversity protection, but also for other critical ecosystem services such as fresh water catchment protection, and storing carbon in trees and soils.
We encourage you to make a submission to make sure the case for protected areas is on the public record.
The inquiry will focus on the conversion of Crown Land, State Forests and agricultural land into national park estate or other types of conservation areas, including the process of conversion and the operational, social and economic, and environmental impacts on neighbours of public lands and local government after conversion. The Terms of Reference are also focused on park management practices and the specific cases of:
- River Red Gum State Forests in the Southern Riverina,
- Native Hardwood State Forests in Northern NSW,
- Yanga Station in the Balranald Shire, and
- Toorale Station in Bourke Shire.
Submissions close Friday 31 August 2012.
Making a submission
You may choose to cover all the terms of reference in your submission or you may just make a statement about what is important to you. You might like to include in your submission:
- Our conservation areas are important not only for biodiversity protection, but also for other critical ecosystem services such as fresh water catchment protection, and carbon sequestration.
- The landscapes, places and objects in national parks are significant for their Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural values
- Australia has signed the International Convention on Biodiversity and committed to conserve biodiversity.
- The NSW government is a signatory to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment whereby the Australian Government and all State Governments agreed to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of protected areas, and while the NSW government has made significant progress to date in this regard, many biogeographic subregions remain under represented.
- The science is clear that protected areas are the most effective way of conserving biodiversity.
- Local communities benefit economically and socially from national parks. Provide the committee specific examples of the benefits national parks have brought to your region.
- The management of national parks is undertaken by the skilled professional staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and supported by a large number of community volunteers who take pride in these special areas. The NPWS has considerable expertise in feral animal control, invasive weed management and fire management.
- The effective management of national parks for conservation is hampered by budget pressure and demands to manage and provide infrastructure for an increasing number of recreational activities such as hunting and horse riding.
You may also wish to raise concerns about the inherent bias in the inquiry. The views of the majority of the committee are against the principles of protected areas. The terms of reference are biased towards economic values and disregard the professionalism of the National Parks and Wildlife Service experts. The case studies chosen by the committee are new additions to the national park estate and do not provide examples of the long term benefits of national parks to local communities.
Submissions are due by Friday 31 August and can be made through the NSW parliament website.