Public consultation on national parks establishment

Bioregions and the National Park Estate

This consultation has closed.

Comment is sought on the proposed directions, socio-economic considerations and community involvement in creating new national parks and reserves in NSW.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) acquires land for the establishment of new national parks through various means such as the transfer of other public land, the voluntary sale or transfer of private land, bequests and donations, or through biodiversity offsets, in order to achieve the objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

NPWS is considering whether opportunities exist to improve the national parks establishment process.

Two documents, a directions statement and a socio-economic report on land acquisition, have been prepared to form the basis of a consultation with the community.

This consultation is occurring in response to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Management of Public Land Management in NSW. As a consequence of the inquiry, the NSW Government has committed to publicly consult on:

  • updating the NSW National Parks Establishment Plan
  • the social and economic implications of new park proposals
  • how to improve community involvement in the reserve establishment process.

This consultation has closed.

Comment is sought on the proposed directions, socio-economic considerations and community involvement in creating new national parks and reserves in NSW.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) acquires land for the establishment of new national parks through various means such as the transfer of other public land, the voluntary sale or transfer of private land, bequests and donations, or through biodiversity offsets, in order to achieve the objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

NPWS is considering whether opportunities exist to improve the national parks establishment process.

Two documents, a directions statement and a socio-economic report on land acquisition, have been prepared to form the basis of a consultation with the community.

This consultation is occurring in response to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Management of Public Land Management in NSW. As a consequence of the inquiry, the NSW Government has committed to publicly consult on:

  • updating the NSW National Parks Establishment Plan
  • the social and economic implications of new park proposals
  • how to improve community involvement in the reserve establishment process.

Community

Community involvement in national park establishment

A range of opportunities for community involvement in reserve establishment exist and these are described below.

General opportunities

Regional Advisory Committees

Regional Advisory Committees exist across NSW and provide an important link between the community and NPWS.

Appointments are made to an advisory committee on a regional basis from a cross-section of the community by the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Advisory committees provide advice on the protection and conservation of nature, Aboriginal heritage and historic heritage in the NSW landscape.

Advisory committees may make representations to NPWS on behalf of the general public, park neighbours, park visitors and other stakeholders, and play an important role in raising community awareness and understanding of NPWS policy and management decisions.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

  • representations to NPWS can be made through a Regional Advisory Committee on local reserve establishment matters

The Reserve Establishment Team

The Reserve Establishment Team within NPWS manages reserve establishment across NSW. Any contact made with OEH or NPWS relating to reserve establishment is referred to this team.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

Specific opportunities - the reserve establishment process

The reserve establishment process provides a convenient framework to view opportunities for community involvement in reserve establishment and occurs in the following stages:

The tenure of the land (that is, whether it is existing public or private land) considered for acquisition will influence what opportunities are possible for community involvement in the reserve establishment process.

Protected area planning

The overarching directions for protected area planning are currently contained within, and informed by, the Directions Statement for National Parks Establishment. The directions statement articulates general near-term conservation priorities for land acquisition for the National Park Estate.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

  • NPWS is currently seeking public comment on the Directions Statement for National Parks Establishment
  • individuals and organisations offer suggestions to NPWS on conservation plans and new reserve proposals
  • individuals and organisations offer land to NPWS to consider for possible acquisition

Assessment of land suitability

Assessment of land involves NPWS determining the suitability of an acquisition proposal’s conservation values for the National Park Estate. This assessment also involves a range of wider considerations and specific socio-economic assessment processes.

As a standard part of this stage, NPWS refers its interest in land acquisition proposals to other government agencies to identify conflicting land uses or issues. This is a confidential process and issues that may arise include future forestry, mining, fisheries and infrastructure needs as well as existing use and land title issues. Advice given on these issues informs the assessment of land suitability for acquisition.

Apart from ad hoc community involvement there is currently limited opportunity for community involvement in this stage of the process.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

  • individuals and organisations sometimes supply information to support or substantiate a conservation proposal or direction of interest to them

Priority acquisition options selected

This stage of the reserve establishment process involves internal consideration by NPWS to determine priorities and recommendations for land acquisition.

There is no existing opportunity for community involvement in this stage of the process.

Acquisition of land

This is largely a transactional and legal stage in the process and its nature precludes community involvement until land is acquired and becomes part of the National Park Estate.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

  • when land becomes part of the National Park Estate NPWS notifies local government and other stakeholders of the acquisition and invites further contact

Reservation of land

The reservation of land is largely an administrative and procedural process, however there are various opportunities for community involvement that relate to consultation on reservation category and naming.

The reserve category chosen for a particular area of reserved land is informed by the land’s conservation values, its appropriate use within the National Park Estate and the outcomes of the reserve referral process.

Existing community involvement opportunities:

  • individuals and organisations can offer advice on an appropriate reservation category for acquired land
  • Regional Advisory Committees are consulted on reservation category
  • Regional Advisory Committees are consulted on park names
  • local Aboriginal community members, including Traditional Owners, are consulted on naming proposals of Aboriginal origin and proposals to name Aboriginal areas and places
This consultation has closed.