The NSW government is expected to introduce amendments to the National Parks
and Wildlife Act in this session of parliament, which could allow larger impact
facilities such as supermarkets and fast food outlets in the state’s precious
national parks, according to the state’s peak environment group.
‘Tourism’ could become enshrined in national park management principles,
following the recommendations of the Tourism Taskforce. However, the Nature
Conservation Council of NSW has serious concerns that inappropriate tourist
development could damage or destroy natural areas designated for protection as
“This legislation is not coming from an agenda of nature conservation but from an
agenda of increasing revenue from tourist accommodation and other commercial
ventures in national parks. The Minister wishes to present it as a ‘strengthening’ of
the Act, but in reality we see it as a weakening,” said Acting Chief Executive
Officer Haydn Washington.
“Why enshrine tourism in the management principles for national parks if you are
not seeking to allow more accommodation into parks?
“We support people visiting and enjoying our wonderful national parks in a
sustainable, low-impact way.
“The planned Bill has proposed sustainability criteria, but in the end these are at
the whim of the Minister and can be ignored. They are also not in the Act
themselves and can be changed.
“If the NSW government is fair dinkum about protecting our unique national parks,
it should abandon these amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
“Our national parks represent many decades of community groups seeking to
protect the unique heritage of Australia. They deserve better than the current
proposed Bill’ Dr Washington said.