On 7 June 2022 Minister for State Development Guy Barnett put out a media release titled “Continuing to support our iconic tourism industry” which announced some minor changes to the Expressions of Interest for Tourism Opportunities in National Parks (EOI) process, as his government’s response to the Auditor General’s September 2020 report on the EOI process.
Minister Barnett neglects to mention that one of the Auditor General’s key findings was that “the RAA [the Parks and Wildlife Service’s Reserve Activity Assessment] is not geared to deal with more complex proposals received through EOI”.
On 9 September 2021 Parks Minister Petrusma announced that she was commencing the process of drafting legislative amendments to reform the RAA “to deliver a dedicated statutory environmental impact and planning assessment process”. The promised consultation paper to start this process is now long overdue!
Why has the government chosen to announce some tinkering with the EOI process while stalling on the reforms to the process that really matters, the RAA?
The TNPA calls on the state government to progress the reform of the RAA and to put all EOI proposals on hold until it is completed, so that they can receive a rigorous assessment.
If the state government really wants to ensure that our magnificent national parks remain an asset in perpetuity it should implement measures to keep commercial developments out of our national parks, not the opposite. This would reflect the views expressed by the majority of Australians in recent opinion polls.
Contact: Nick Sawyer (President, TNPA): 0414 718 831