Greenies raise concerns over Bill
NEW legislation to allow commercial development in NSW national parks has Neil Denison worried.
Mr Denison, secretary of the Far North Coast branch of the National Parks Association, said the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Visitors and Tourists) Bill was ‘a real concern'.
“This Bill allows for development in our national parks,” he said.
“It will change the whole concept of what a national park is.
“The whole idea is to have development outside these areas. We are supposed to be protecting national parks, but they will not be protected under this legislation.”
The Bill was passed in the NSW Parliament's Upper House earlier this month.
State Environment Minister Frank Sartor said the new legislation ‘strengthened environmental standards by clarifying the type of visitor facilities and activities that are allowed' in national parks.
“This legislation puts constraints on the scale of new accommodation in parks and rules out for the first time development such as major resorts, rifle ranges and large sporting complexes,” he said.
Tourism Minister Jodi McKay said the Bill was ‘great news' for NSW's tourism industry.
“This legislation will allow us to promote our iconic national parks with low-key, sustainable activities and attractions, while protecting them for generations to come,” she said.
However, environment groups are seething over the new legislation, saying it will still allow for new hotels, resorts, cab-ins and lodges, other private facilities and shops for tourists.
The Wilderness Society's campaign co-ordinator, Belinda Fairbrother, said the legislation would allow for commercial tours in wilderness areas for the first time.
She also said national parks could also be closed off for private events and leases issued for ‘unlimited periods'.