The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) welcomes Labor’s ambitious plan for environmental protection, (Labor’s Plan For Our Environment, Tuesday 17th March 2015).
Several elements of the plan are long-standing NPA advocacy positions, including the creation of the Great Koala National Park and a Sydney Marine Park, World Heritage listing for eucalypt forests in the Forests of Eastern Australia Biodiversity Hotspot and the continued expansion of the national parks network.
The commitment by Labor to impose a state wide moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) and implementation of permanent ‘no-go zones’ around national parks and Ramsar wetlands is also reassuring to NPA members, many of whom have become increasingly concerned about the rampant expansion of CSG.
NPA CEO Kevin Evans said ‘it’s great news that a major party has finally recognised that nature underpins the fabric of our society and that nature should not be destroyed for short-term profits.’
‘Of course, it’s easy to make promises in opposition so we will make sure that we remind Labor of their commitments should they gain power in two weeks’ time.’
NPA Science Officer Oisín Sweeney said ‘it’s exciting that Labor have committed to filling the gaps in our national park network and pursuing World Heritage listing for our incredible eucalypt forests and rainforests.’
‘The NPA has been vocal for some time on the problems facing koalas which led us to call for the Great Koala National Park. We are in serious danger of losing koalas in NSW.’
‘The commitment to convene a Koala Summit is therefore welcome—though a national summit may be better to allow NSW to learn from other states where koalas are doing better.’
NPA Marine spokesperson John Turnbull also welcomed the plan, particularly the commitment to create a Sydney Marine Park, lift the moratorium on the creation of new marine parks and reinstate protection for the critically endangered Grey Nurse Shark.