LABOR UNVEILS COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO REBUILD NATIONAL PARKS IN NSW

Deputy Labor Leader Penny Sharpe today announced Labor’s plan to rebuild the National Parks estate of NSW and repair the damage to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) that has occurred after eight years of cuts and neglect by the Liberals and Nationals.

Labor’s plan includes elevating the NPWS to report directly to the Minister, reinstating a formal establishment plan for National Parks, creating new National Parks and employing additional officers to manage and care for this precious public asset.

Key policies in Labor’s plan include:

• Employing 200 additional field officers to undertake targeted pest control and boost firefighting capacity;

• Investing in 60 new officers to restore the damaged mountain catchments of Kosciuszko National Park;

• Creating a koala national park in south-west Sydney to protect the only disease-free koala colony in NSW;

Recommitting to a Great Koala National Park in northern NSW;

• Nominating the Royal National Park for World Heritage Listing;

• Returning Me-mel (Goat Island) to the Aboriginal people of NSW; and

• Additional resources for weeds and pest management.

“Labor is very proud of building the National Parks estate across NSW. If elected, we will continue this legacy. We will start by going on an Australian and worldwide hunt for a highly skilled person to head up the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“After eight years of neglect, Labor will invest in new staff to protect threatened species, prevent further declines in biodiversity and safeguard our water catchments, wetlands and key habitats.

“Labor wants the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to be the best in the world.”

Under the Liberals and Nationals our Parks have been under constant attack. Over the last eight years, Liberals and Nationals have:

• Cut 493 full-time equivalent positions from the National Parks and Wildlife Service;

• Cut more than $100 million from the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s budget;

• Reduced the growth of the NSW National Parks estate by 95 per cent;

• Allowed hunting in National Parks;

• Tried to scrap the Murray Valley National Park to allow logging of the river red gum forests;

• Passed legislation that threatens the native wildlife and alpine environment in the Kosciuszko National Park; and

• Planned the flooding of large sections of the Blue Mountains National Park, risking its World Heritage Listing.

“There is a very clear choice at this election. A vote for Labor is a vote for our National Parks to be cared for, celebrated, and given the funding they need to be the best in the world. A vote for the Liberals and Nationals will see our National Parks fall into further disrepair and further threaten our biodiversity.”

Key facts – NSW National Parks and reserves:

• Cover more than seven million hectares of land;

• Represent around nine per cent of the total land area of NSW; and

• 51 million visits are made to National Parks each year.

15 March 2019


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News Release: 190315 sharpe labor unveils comprehensive plan to rebuild national parks


Background on GKNP

Labor will establish a Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast to save the koalas of northern NSW from an uncertain future.

It is estimated that, when complete, the National Park could contain 4,500 koalas. This is 20 per cent of the remaining wild koalas in NSW.

Koalas in northern NSW face serious threats including:

  • Loss of habitat;
  • Disease;
  • Road accidents; and
  • Dog attacks.

The Chief Scientist & Engineer found koalas have declined by 26 per cent in NSW over the past three koala generations. Koalas are listed as vulnerable to extinction.

Habitat loss caused by land clearing and urban development has resulted in koalas disappearing from 75 per cent of their former range.

Labor will develop infrastructure to support “koala tourism” alongside the new National Park. This will include
a dedicated Visitor Centre and Koala Hospital.

The new National Park will include public land inland from Coffs Harbour.

Labor will undertake a comprehensive and genuine consultation process with all stakeholders and seek expert scientific advice to help guide the process to develop the Great Koala National Park.