National Parks and Wilderness

Note: Annex A (as shown in this policy) is in the process of being developed and cross-referenced to the Wetlands and Marine policies. The Annex will be subject to updating as additional or new information becomes available.

 

Principles

The Greens NSW believe that:

1.    As intact natural resources, New South Wales’s current National Parks (NP) and Nature Reserves (NR) and other lands protected under the National Parks & Wildlife (NPW) Act are precious environmental jewels, but they do not protect the full range of biological diversity natural heritage and ecosystem processes;

2.    Major additions are required to the parks and conservation system if the network of protected areas is to achieve the survival of significant components of the state's natural heritage and biodiversity. Current land management practices are destroying large tracts of native vegetation and associated habitats for native fauna;

3.    A comprehensive conservation assessment process is required to identify all areas that would require reservation and protection in order to meet the objective of a 'comprehensive, adequate and representative' reserve system. Such an assessment must employ proper consultation with Indigenous Australians and other key stakeholders, public participation, and scientifically valid and publicly accepted methodologies;

4.    The management of our protected areas is often confused because of the failure to recognise and resolve such competing interests as nature conservation, heritage of Indigenous Australians, historic heritage, and recreation and tourism. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) should focus its attention on its principal role as a nature conservation agency under the principles of ecologically sustainable development, which will have elements of heritage of Indigenous Australians and historic heritage as well as recreational/tourist opportunities;

5.    The rights of Indigenous Australians and their unique role in developing appropriate ecological management systems for National Parks must be recognised.

Aims

The Greens NSW will work towards:

6.    A major overhaul of the National Parks and Wildlife Act to relinquish the care, control and management of Aboriginal cultural sites and items to the custodians and communities of Indigenous Australians;

7.    The establishment of a proper system of Aboriginal protected areas transferred to Indigenous Australians where traditional use is demonstrated and their separate administration and funding through the Minister for the Environment;

8.    Increased public participation and transparency in the decision-making processes involved in national parks estate management;

9.    Increased funding for the acquisition and management of new national parks estate;

10. Expansion of the resourcing, personnel and expertise of the NPWS, so that it becomes the primary conservation body across all landscapes and land tenures throughout New South Wales;

11. The establishment of a separate Regional Parks Authority under the Minister for the Environment to identify, establish, and have care, control and management of regional parks across the state focused on recreation and tourism in a natural setting;

12. Reversal of the trend towards commercialisation of the NPWS;

13. The consolidation of the protection and management of our historic heritage, including historic sites within the Environment portfolio;

14. The introduction of meaningful incentives to encourage Voluntary Conservation Agreements on private land;

15. All national parks having an identified and maintained buffer zone; and

16. Consideration being given when assessing new national parks to:

a.    Minimum size based on ecological viability

b.    Location in terms of links with, and wildlife corridors associated with, other national parks.

17. Securing the creation of a greatly expanded system of protected areas over public and private lands that is comprehensive, adequate and representative such that it is capable of ensuring the long-term protection and conservation of the state's biological diversity and natural heritage and of maintaining the ecological unit in perpetuity;

18. Guaranteeing adequate and recurrent funding for the NPWS so that it can meet both its current responsibilities and an expanded role as the primary conservation agency across all landscapes and land tenures throughout New South Wales;

19. Ensuring effective management and accountability in the spending of the NPWS budget;

20. Supporting a diverse range of community-based volunteer groups within the National Parks framework;

21. Preventing the further commercialisation of the national parks estate, especially the granting of additional 'concessions' or 'inholdings' within the estate;

22. Preventing grazing, horses, recreational shooting, bee keeping, logging, mining and other activities inconsistent with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, within the national parks estate and restricting vehicles to designated roads only;

23. Legislation that provides for the public nomination of national park estate proposals, and a public and transparent assessment process for proposals by NPWS, consistent with similar provisions in the Wilderness Act 1987;

24. Having areas of national park assessed for National Estate and World Heritage values and, where appropriate, nominated;

25.  Amending the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to remove the responsibilities for the cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians from the NPWS and facilitating greater participation by Indigenous Australians in overall park management;

26. Banning mining beneath national parks;

27. Adequate funding for NPWS for weed and feral animal control;

28. Lower-impact, natural management controls and a move away from dependence on chemical pest control and burning;

29. Ensuring that management advisory committees include adequate representation from environment groups;

30. Removing all deer, horses, cats, foxes and other non-indigenous vertebrate invasive species from national parks estate;

31. The identification systematically across all bioregions and all tenures of reserve priorities based on the existing representation of conservation values in the reserve system and levels of threat;

32. The immediate reservation of the public lands of the highest conservation value areas identified by this process;

33. Adequate funding for a voluntary acquisition program to purchase private lands of the highest conservation value and support for Voluntary Conservation Agreements over those lands, where purchase is not possible;

34. Ensuring the secure protection under the Wilderness Act 1987, of all areas of high wilderness quality, nominated for assessment by the NPWS;

35. Protecting all areas of wilderness within existing national parks through a Plan of Management for the park or reserve;

36. Achieving substantial funding of the Wilderness Fund, set up under the Wilderness Act 1987, to permit public education, preparation of Plans of Management, and the formulation of conservation agreements with private landholders, and to secure the voluntary purchase of private lands within identified wilderness areas;

37.  The immediate reservation of public land as national parks estate as identified as Annex A. 

Annex A:

Areas recommended for immediate protection 

Western NSW: Areas identified by the Western Conservation Alliance in the Brigalow Belt South and surrounds, especially Goonoo, Bebo and Pilliga as well as Terrie Hie Hie, Biddon, Leard, Trinkey, Warialda, Severn and the Monkey Scrub forests, River Red Gum NPs, Cobar Peneplain NPs, Black Andrew NR, Nombinnie and Yathong additions 

Coastal Forests: Whian Whian, Wollumbin, Chaelundi, Butterleaf, Bungawalbyn, Pine Creek, Sherwood, Little Wonder, Queens Lake, Tuggolo, Sheas Nob, Myall River, Copeland Tops, Black Bulga Range and Jilliby in the northeast.Upper Deua, Badja and the completion of the Community Reserve Proposals in the south-east 

The forests that comprise the Brisbane-Melbourne Conservation Link with forest corridors to the coast to include all remaining areas of unprotected old growth forest and wilderness on public land. 

Areas identified as wilderness in north-east and south-east NSW, and in particular the Pilliga, BeBo, Mt Kaputar additions, Cataract, Timbarra, Yengo, Tabletop, Brindabella and two core areas of the Deua - Central Deua and Donalds Creek, Big Dubbo Hill in the Tumut Region, Giro, Carracabundi, Murruin and Tantawangalo 

Coastal areas: Warrell Ck, East Ballina, Dunbogan and Old Bar/Farquhar’s Inlet NR proposals and additions to Broken Head and Darawank NRs; additions to the Yuragir, Myall Lakes and Seven Mile Beach, NPs. Connect Wallarah Peninsula with Munmorah SRA 

Sydney surrounds: ADI Woodlands St Marys, O’Hares Creek NP, additions to Agnes Banks, Muogamarra, Marangaroo NRs, Crescent Reach NR, Calangara NR, Bargo River Reserve, Wheeler Creek NR, additions to Garigal, Yengo,Blue Mountains (north-western), and Heathcote NPs, Conservation covenants over natural areas on University Campuses (UWS Hawkesbury and Macquarie Uni Lane Cove Valley) and Gardens of Stone proposed NP 

Catchment protection areas: Sydney (eg Woronora and Metropolitan) Hunter Water (eg Tomago sandbeds) Central Coast catchment (Watagan mountains), Ballina/Lismore/Byron Bay (Whian Whian forest) and the Clyde River and its catchments 

Marine Parks: Cook Is., Smokey Cape, Curracurrong, Broulee Is Towra Point and Montague Is., with 20% of all habitat types to be protected in marine sanctuary areas within all marine parks (including Cape Byron and Lord Howe Is.) 

Intertidal zones: all intertidal areas adjoining protected coastal lands and 

Wetlands: Tweed Estuary NR, Colungra NR proposals, Wingecarribee Swamp. 

Definitions:

Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) principles:

(a) the precautionary principle – if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

(b) inter-generational equity – is about fairness between generations and that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

(c) intra-generational equity –  is about fairness among the current generation, concerns equity within and between people and nations, and is essential for achieving environmental justice.

(d) conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity  – the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration for the maintenance of healthy, productive and functioning ecosystems.

(e) integration of environmental, economic and social aspects into decision-making – the three pillars of sustainability must support each other simultaneously.

(f) improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms – that environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services.

 Other policies related to this policy:

  • Bushfire Risk Management
  • Coastal management
  • Biodiversity
  • Wetlands
  • Animal Welfare
  • Marine Environment
  • Mining