“The National Parks Association of NSW today welcomed the 30 investment recommendations released by Infrastructure NSW to improve critical infrastructure in NSW.” said Kevin Evans CEO of the National Parks Association of NSW.
“One of their key recommendations is to invest $300 million into Regional Environment and Tourism Program for national parks and regional tourism over 20 years”.
“NSW National Parks are incredible assets that protect some of the states’ most precious natural areas whilst also supporting an important sustainable eco-tourism industry”.
“NPA is committed to ensuring that regional centres have a sustainable future within a sustainable environment and therefore we support a program that develops and/or utilises infrastructures within existing centres”.
“If implemented effectively, the Regional Environment and Tourism Program would inject much needed funds to off park gateway communities near our national parks that will have a positive impact on these rural economies and improve NSW standing as a quality tourism destination”. “We do not in any way support the allocation of these funds that would compromise the natural values of national parks such as new commercial developments within parks. Placing commercial developments in national parks undercuts tourism services in neighbouring towns, where tourists would otherwise stay and spend money. It also reduces access for the broader public who can’t or won’t pay commercial operators to use our national parks!” “This investment should also be used to fulfil the NSW government plan for Great Walks NSW, making NSW a premium walking destination. There is potential to significantly increase the number of people visiting these natural places by improving tracks, signage and by better equipping people for their visit.
“NSW is in a unique position to invest in great walks that bring visitors to the edge of parks so they can access regional towns for overnight accommodation and meals during multi-day walks. Inn-to-inn walking is popular in Europe and the America's and could with the right investment work well in NSW. People can today bushwalk 260km from Sydney to Newcastle (along the Great North Walk) and choose to camp or stay in a bed and breakfast each night. This approach significantly amplifies the states return on investment as it allows regional communities to directly provide services to visitors that in other states are limited to within the park boundaries.”
“A proportion of these funds could also be allocated to passive recreation, way finding signage, interpretation and track maintenance that could help lower the barriers to entry for all people and make our amazing National Parks and regional areas in NSW more accessible to all”. Concluded Kevin Evans.
Media Contact: Kevin Evans 045 7797 977