Nature NSW Summer 2022

The year in review 2021-2022

Grahame Douglas, President & Gary Dunnett, Chief Executive Officer

NPA’s Annual Report for 2021-22 was published in November. It reports against our five Priority Areas:

  1. Protecting Nature
  2. Connecting People with Nature
  3. Strengthening NPA’s Community
  4. Communicating our Ideas, Knowledge and Viewpoints
  5. Strengthening NPA’s Operations

Parts of the report are included in this edition of Nature NSW. You can find the full report on our website Annual Reports .

This year was truly transformative for the future of nature in NSW.  Like all transformations there have been desirable and disturbing elements.  On the positive side, as the immediate risks of the pandemic subsided, NPA members were able to reconnect through shared experiences in bushwalking and activities. 

It was a year in which conservation advocacy took a remarkable turn with the emergence of 30 by 30, an international movement to protect a minimum of 30% of our planet’s land and seas for biodiversity conservation by 2030.  In a stunning display of bipartisanship, the 30 by 30 goals were endorsed by both sides of national politics and subsequently agreed on by all States.  

30 by 30 reflects NPA’s conviction that a carefully designed, professionally managed network of Protected Areas sits at the centre of practical conservation.  We’ve worked for decades to expand the NSW reserve system to the current position of nearly 10% of the State.  Over the last year we’ve applied that experience to the challenge of rapidly expanding our national parks in line with 30 by 30 aspirations.   

Our practical actions include bringing marine and terrestrial experts together to identify conservation opportunities in all marine and terrestrial bioregions; a ground-breaking study of conservation opportunities in western NSW; and, through our new Strategic Plan 2023- 2028, proposing major new reserves such as the Great Koala National Park, the Pilliga Forests, Jervis Bay additions, Upper Georges River koala habitats and Southern Forests.  Creating a world class system of national parks and reserves in NSW is no longer ‘just’ NPA business, but part of the international solution to the dire environmental challenges facing our planet.

Invigorating as global recognition of the importance of national parks has been, this year also saw a wave of Government decisions that threaten those same, precious parks.  The irreplaceable Kosciuszko National Park bore the brunt of these poor decisions. New overhead powerlines cutting through the park, repeated wavering on feral horse control, and a massive increase in resorts have required every advocacy, legal and political tool at our disposal.  Elsewhere, thinly disguised attempts to commercialise multiday walking have required strong responses from NPA branches across NSW.  It is remarkable that governments that claim to understand the importance of protected areas treat them with such contempt.  It reminds us of the importance of constant vigilance against threats to these precious places.

Your support for an effective, proactive NPA has never been more important- thank you!

In this edition