Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3664 ..
biodiverse and beautiful place. Namadgi national park makes a significant contribution to what makes Canberra special. It is my pleasure to present the Namadgi national park plan of management to the Assembly, and I move:
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.25): I would like to take the opportunity to speak briefly to the tabling of the Namadgi management plan. Firstly, I would like to welcome the plan. It has been a long time coming, perhaps a little too long in fact. The draft management plan was first released in 2005, the revised draft management plan in 2008. The committee inquiry was in 2008 and we have been waiting since then for the plan to be released.
I know the National Parks Association, who are having their annual general meeting tonight, rather coincidentally, will be delighted to see that the plan has finally been released. However, there may also be some disappointment on some key issues that have not been addressed. For example, we know from the estimates hearing that no money was put aside this year for a state of the park report for Namadgi. This is something that the NPA have consistently called for and I know that they are keen to see annual reporting in the management plan. As I said during the budget debate, a state of the park report would come into its own as an indicator of the ecological values of the park. This would be welcome, especially against a backdrop of an increasing number of anthropocentric indicators for parks and reserves, as we saw in the budget papers and as I quizzed, to some extent, in estimates.
Secondly, with regard to the board of management, one of the difficulties for Namadgi over the past few years has been a lack of a functioning board of management. The Interim Namadgi Advisory Board concluded in August 2007. I understand that negotiations to re-establish a new board have been underway but I am unsure how they are progressing. Recommendation 5 of the Assembly’s inquiry into the management plan was to re-establish a permanent board of management should the interim board cease to function.
Certainly, some time has passed since then and it can only be in the best interests of Namadgi to have an active and cooperative board of management into the future. I would welcome hearing from the government about how this is progressing and when we should expect to see it up and running.
The final measure I would like to touch on today is that of the recreational use of our national parks. This is an issue of some contention as there is increasing pressure on national parks across the country to accommodate requests from sporting groups and others to use parks for recreational purposes.
It is the Greens’ view that, while parks do offer recreational value, the conservation value of our national parks must take priority. We believe that recreational pursuits should not be allowed in the parks if they put at risk the ecological values of the national parks. This is not to say that recreational park users should be forbidden but that the management of recreational events should be done in such a way as to protect the park ecology.