Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

New law to excise park roads will not make Kosciuszko National Park safer

Road stability and safety will not be improved by giving the Roads and Traffic Authority ownership of the Alpine Way and Mount Kosciuszko Road in Kosciuszko National Park.

"If passed through the Upper House of Parliament this week, the legislation removing roads from Kosciuszko National Park will lead to undesirable park development in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the State," said Mr Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

"The Colong Foundation calls on the Government to ensure that the affected roads in the park are subject to the park plan of management and that the Minister for the Environment must agree before any road development can take place in the park," said Mr Muir. "The road excision scheme will do more to enhance business interests and real estate values in Thredbo and Perisher than to protect park visitors," Mr Muir said.

"The RTA is a notorious developer. It will assist the ski resort industryís push for faster roads through the national park. This may mean more profits for resort owners but there will be more serious vehicle accidents with wildlife and feral horses associated with increased traffic speeds," he said.

"Dependence on private vehicles to access the ski resorts will also increase with faster roads, but further car access is detrimental to the preservation of the natural environment."

"There is every reason to improve public transport by rail and bus to the park. Most drivers have no experience of icy conditions and driving to the snowfields makes park visitors more dangerous to themselves than if they were encouraged to use public transport," Mr Muir said.

"About $60 million has been spent improving the Alpine Way, the road that was associated with Thredbo tragedy. The Kosciuszko Road is not like the Alpine Way, and even if the road surface collapsed, it could not fall into a ski resort. What could be done to protect ski resort visitors from the risk of road collapse already has been done, and the road transfer exercise is more about future park management and enhancing future ski resort profits, than current threats," said Mr Muir.