More parks the solution to dire environmental situation

Cleared landscape at sunset with dead paddock tree and powerlines

The National Parks Association of NSW welcomes Commonwealth Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s commitment to protect a third of Australia’s land and the seas by 2030.

“Today’s release of the National State of the Environment Report confirms the dire condition of our natural landscapes, biodiversity and climate,” stated NPA President Dr Grahame Douglas.

“Thankfully Environment Minister Plibersek has acknowledged that 30by30, a commitment to manage at least 30% of land and seas for biodiversity conservation by 2030, is absolutely essential if we want to stop this disastrous decline.”

“National Parks, Nature Reserves, Marine Sanctuaries and other Protected Areas offer the highest level of protection for species and their habitats.  Well managed natural habitats are also vitally important for carbon sequestration and storage.  We used to think our responsibility was to hand future generations a system of national parks in the condition we’ve enjoyed.  This report tells us that our future depends on nothing less than a major and rapid expansion of Protected Area Networks,” continued Dr Douglas.

“The real challenge is to take 30by30 out of the realm of aspiration and headlines.  That means going beyond national averages and applying 30by30 across every bioregion in every State.  NSW currently protects barely 10% of its land in national parks and even less in marine sanctuaries,” noted NPA CEO Gary Dunnett. 

“It’s taken us nearly 150 years to go from Australia’s first National Park, Royal National Park, in 1879 to 10% of the State.  Getting to 30% over the next decade is a massive undertaking.  Now’s the time for the NSW Government to get the ball rolling by restoring full protection to marine sanctuaries, ending all logging in public native forests, and permanently protecting Travelling Stock Routes and other environmentally sensitive Crown Lands.”   

“Let’s not kid ourselves at the scale of the threat facing nature in Australia.  The SoE Report shows that 6.1 million hectares of native forests were cleared in 30 years, an area equivalent to 85% of the entire NSW Protected Area Network.  In NSW alone the clearance of native vegetation has tripled in the last decade,” said Mr Dunnett.

The State of the Environment report highlights that scientists are concerned about the efficacy of Australia’s marine reserve system, which is caught in a trend of downgrading protections.  New research by Dr John Turnbull shows that only ‘no take’ marine sanctuaries restore fish biomass and diversity.

Media Contacts (via NPA Office (02) 9299 0000):

Gary Dunnett, NPA CEO

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