Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Local Government Association wants National Parks kept safe for nature

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society
Colong Foundation for Wilderness
National Parks Association of NSW
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre
Total Environment Centre
The NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service

Environment groups today congratulated local governments across NSW for uniting to oppose NSW Government plans to develop national parks and open them to hunting.

The Annual Conference of the Local Government Association last week resolved to express concern about opening up National Parks to recreational hunting and commercial development.

The Local Government Association expressed concern about any move to allow recreational shooting and plans by the NSW State Government to develop commercial facilities inside National Parks.  The Association is also concerned that the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Wilderness Act may be amended to facilitate development.

The Association resolved that improved, low-key facilities for National Park visitors and better promotion to encourage more public use, off-park accommodation and other services will support local economies whilst avoiding more impacts on National Parks.

“The support to keep national parks safe for nature and appropriate public enjoyment has grown steadily over the last six months.  Many have expressed the same concerns and we hope that Premier Rees and the Opposition will ensure National Parks are not exploited for either blood sport or by the development of commercial facilities,” said Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Blue Mountains City Council working with community conservation groups and through a network of Councilors, including those in Sydney City Council, Ashfield, Strathfield, Willoughby, Weddin andWarringah councils were successful in getting the motion passed through the conference”, he said.

“To achieve effective and humane pest species eradication programs requires fully trained professionals hired and supervised by National Parks staff, not rank amateurs out for a bit of hunting fun.  Game and Feral Animal Control Bill introduced by the Shooters Party has to be entirely rejected,” said acting Executive Director of the National Parks Association, Bev Smiles.

“This mounting opposition to the Rees Government plans for national parks should force a rethink. The community has sent a clear message: no new accommodation for national parks and no recreational hunters in national parks”.

“National Parks are for nature first and are more valuable in their natural state.  National Parks already make a massive contribution to community wellbeing and the economy through hosting 38 million visitors a year, protecting wildlife, providing ecosystem services and supporting a nature tourism industry worth $20 billion a year in NSW.  These precious areas should be remain set aside from development and recreational hunting, forever”, said Cate Faehrmann, Executive Director of Nature Conservation Council of NSW.      see page 36/37

CONTACT: Bev Smiles 0428 817 282, Keith Muir 0412 791 404