Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Senator Campbell Must Defend Kakadu’s Wilderness

“The Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, must reject the proposed removal of management zones in Kakadu National Park, including the wilderness zone.  The fifth draft plan of management gives no explanation for the proposed abandonment of the zoning approach,” said Mr Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Kakadu is developed enough and should not be thrown open to more luxury camps and lodges.  There is no regulation of bed numbers or other prescriptions in the new draft plan to curb development.  Kakadu could head in all sorts of undesirable directions under this draft plan,” said Mr Muir.

“Commercial tourism can be almost as damaging as mining to Kakadu National Park.  Large concentrations of people mean lots of sewage effluent, sealed roads, an airport, clearing, large resorts and infrastructure, electricity power lines, telephones, mountains of rubbish and all the air conditioned comforts of home.  It is madness to remove the park’s zoning scheme, particularly the wilderness zone.  The public would have no certainty regarding the future protection, development and use of the park.

“The Federal Environment Minister should make preservation of a wilderness zone a prerequisite for his approval of the management plan for Kakadu.  Wilderness zone best preserves natural areas because it precludes all forms of development and isn’t that what national parks are about, setting aside areas for nature?

“The Kakadu wilderness zone was approved by the Kakadu Board of Management in 1986. It was a good idea to set aside a third of Kakadu National Park in a wilderness zone then, why wind back protection now? 

“Wilderness protection in Federally managed parks should be greatly expanded to protect environmentally sensitive park areas to curb increasing development pressures on our parks,” Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)