The Tasmanian National Parks Association’s (TNPA) main current concerns relate to the ongoing management of Tasmania’s reserve system and other areas of high conservation status.
- Out-of-control development in our national parks and reserves. Tasmania has never had a legislated process to control development on reserved land because it was superfluous when there was consensus that national parks and reserves were out-of-bounds for development. This has now changed with the current State Government’s policy of “unlocking” these areas for development with minimal opportunity for public scrutiny. The vast majority of development proposals in Tasmania occur on private land and are guaranteed an open and accountable assessment by longstanding Tasmanian planning legislation. Equivalent scrutiny of proposals on public reserved land is urgently required.
- The TNPA has long been concerned by the chronically inadequate resourcing of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS). Combined with increasing pressure to facilitate tourism, this has caused the PWS to not only neglect its fundamental responsibility for maintaining the natural and cultural values of Tasmania’s reserve estate, but has also limited its capacity to manage the impacts of ever increasing visitor numbers.
TNPA therefore calls for:
1. Control of development on reserved land
- An immediate end to the call for Expressions of Interest for Tourism Opportunities on Reserved Land and any form of state government support for projects such as the Mount Wellington or Cradle Mountain Cable Cars.
- A process to control development on reserved land. This needs to:
- Be statutory (have a basis in legislation) – so that there is a legal requirement to follow the process and the opportunity for legal challenge if the process is abused.
- Be open and transparent (i.e. all information including a detailed description of the proposal and the assessment documentation readily available to the public).
- Provide for public comment and require a considered response to this comment.
- Provide for third party appeal rights. These provide the public with a mechanism for enforcement of the criteria.
2. Funding for reserve management
- Parks and Wildlife Service: the PWS has been drained of resources by successive governments to the point where it can barely function. This can only be addressed by an increase of a minimum of $5 million in the PWS’ recurrent funding to enable it to recruit permanent staff to address core responsibilities and undertake long-delayed maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- Wellington Park Management Trust: Mount Wellington is one of the state’s most visited natural tourism destinations yet it has no full-time field staff or visitor centre. A minimum of $0.5 million recurrent funding is required to fund essential staff, basic infrastructure maintenance and preparation of a visitor strategy.
Further information: download our full election manifesto
Authorised by Nicholas Sawyer. 43 Hillborough Road, South Hobart