National parks suffer from Budget, says association
National Parks Association of NSW head Mr Kevin Evans has claimed Brisbane Water and Bouddi National Parks will deteriorate due to lack of funding in the State Budget.
He said the NSW Government's budget had provided no new funding for the environment, despite a glut of asset sales and stamp duty revenue.
"Nature in NSW, in areas like the Peninsula, is a driver for regional tourism, both domestic and international, and we have under-invested in those national parks even though they are the main reason tourists visit."
Mr Evans described the Peninsula as a "hot spot" for urbanisation and said that put increasing pressure on areas such as Patonga that were once viable habitats for seriously endangered species, including koala.
"Koalas are doing it tough right across the state.
"There are very few stable populations so increased urbanisation and habitat fragmentation mean any plans to reintroduce a koala population to areas like Patonga would be compromised from the start."
He said the NSW Government's repeal of the Native Vegetation Act and the introduction of the Biodiversity Act would both make it easier for private landowners to clear vegetation, further jeopardising habitat.
"We will need to reflect in 2055 when we say goodbye to the last koala outside a zoo in NSW whether the decisions being made now contributed to the fact my children will not be able to see a koala anywhere in the wild in NSW," he said.
Mr Evans said there were aboriginal sites and artefacts in need of protection in both the Brisbane Water and Bouddi parks.
"We strongly believe local Aboriginal communities need to be involved in such conservation."
"These dark days of Coalition governments abandoning the environment must give way to bi-partisan recognition that we cannot have a successful economy without a healthy environment.
"NSW has fallen well behind in achieving its international commitments to biodiversity protection."
Media release, 20 Jun 2017
Kiran Charles, National Parks Association NSW
Interview, 21 Jun 2017
Kevin Evans, National Parks Association NSW
Reporter: Jackie Pearson