o Torrington SRA, (near Glenn Innes) 682 ha
o Yellomundee NP, west of Blue Mtns doubled to 185 ha
o (New) Melville Range NR, between Tamworth and Gunnedah 843 ha
Information provided by NPWS
The review of the plan of management for Kosciuszko National Park is now well underway. A community forum has been appointed, and will hold its first meeting in June. Rick Farley will be the independent chair. A scientific committee has also formed that will assist the forum by providing a statement on the condition of the park and key threats to protecting its values.
The new resort planning regime is close to finalisation. The NSW Government has ignored NPA calls to restrict the new planning approval powers of the Planning Minister in the national park to the major resort areas. Instead the Minister will approve any development in all areas already used for skiing.
The Perisher Range Master Plan, adopted in November 2001, was recently released. It provides for an expansion of the resort area to accommodate 1320 new beds and the creation of a new village centre in Perisher Valley.
|Action > Call Andrew Cox at NPA to join the Kosciuszko campaign.|
The Quick Red Fox...
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has finalised the report , NSW Threat Abatement Plan for the Red Fox ( Vulpes vulpes).
Predation by the Red Fox has been recognised as a major contributor to the extinction of at least 54 species of vertebrates in Australia since European settlement and marked reductions in distribution and numbers of others. The baiting method will be implemented where fox impacts on threatened species are greatest.
Hidden NPWS Spending
NPA efforts to obtain detailed records of NPWS spending and budgets within each work area have been thwarted at every turn. NSW budget papers and the NPWS Annual Report merely summarise NPWS spending. The public cant find details on revenue raised by new park entry fees, threatened species programs dropped with this years $2.5M funding cut, or costs of the recent NPWS restructure.
A question on NPAs behalf by NSW Upper House independent, Richard Jones, to last years budget estimates committee failed to provide detailed NPWS figures. NPWS agreed to see if the figures could be provided at a meeting in November 2001, and a follow-up letter was sent to NPWS in January. No reply. When NPA asked NPWS Director-General directly in March, he asked us to write to the Environment Minister because of its sensitivity. NPWS Finance Director, Arthur Diakos, said he was concerned about providing a level of detail.
NPA seeks to ensure NPWS operate in a transparent and accountable way, and has lodged a Freedom of Information request to obtain the information.
Small advance for Solitary Island
The long awaited zoning plan for Solitary Islands Marine Park has been finalised with 12% of the park dedicated as 'no-take' sanctuary zone. NPA and other environment groups believe the decision didnt go far enough, previously calling for at least a 25% sanctuary zone.
Many concessions were made to recreational fishers, and many weak and impractical measures will be introduced when the plan commences on 1 August 2002.
For example, grey nurse shark habitats, that scientists consider need full protection, were not adequately protected. Important grey nurse shark aggregation sites rely on bans on bottom fishing hooks with wire traces this wont stop the sharks being caught by other hooks, that evidence shows can cause shark mortality.
NPA was challenged about this at
a meeting with an adviser to the Minister for Fisheries who was upset by our
negative reaction to the announcement. It seemed that our advice on the grey
nurse shark was better than what he receives from NSW Fisheries. Within a week
of this meeting, the draft recovery plan for the grey nurse shark, delayed for
years, was released.
These sharks are nationally listed as critically endangered, and urgent Government action is needed to prevent their extinction in NSW. Still the plan failed to acknowledge the need for no-take sanctuary zones in areas designated critical habitat, unlike the views of the national recovery plan team.
Carr still supports hunters' ‘Blood Sports Bill’
Surprisingly, the Carr Labor Government continues to support the Game Bill (see National Parks Journal, April 2002).
The draft legislation, written by shooters to reintroduce recreational duck and quail shooting, and expand shooting of feral animals on public lands, is administered by a Council chaired and controlled by hunters.
The unprecedented control given to hunters to regulate this dangerous, environmental damaging and inhumane sport has no similar model in any other state of Australia, where hunting permits are issued and regulated by the government, not the hunters.
At the time of printing, Government had not accepted any real changes to the Bill, now passed by the Lower House. Opponents are targeting Labor seats of Blue Mountains (Bob Debus) and Port Jackson (Sandra Nori).
Island — wildlife to seek asylum too?
On 12 March the Howard Government announced plans to build an immigration detention centre on Christmas Island to house 1,200 people, almost doubling the islands current population of 1,500. Humanitarian issues aside, this will be an environmental disaster.
To keep the centre out of sight, it will be located on the southern side of the island entirely within Christmas Island National Park, in an area without any existing infrastructure and earmarked for priority rainforest rehabilitation in the endangered Abbots Booby recovery plan. Construction work started late in March.
National Parks Australia Council (the national body of NPAs) wrote to the Federal Environment Minister questioning the legality because of the lack of an environmental impact assessment, and the expected effect on migratory birds and threatened species Christmas Island has many endemic and threatened species, mostly birds and the famous red crab.
Within a week, the Minister had turned off the relevant parts of the Commonwealth legislation relating to threatened species and impact assessments in the national interest.