Are National Parks a Jewel to Protect or Ripe for Exploitation?
In recent months the Department of Tourism has called for expressions of interest for development of eco- tourism ventures in National Parks. Queensland has only 7% of its area as national park, compared to 50% in Tasmania, however the Government has decided that in order to attract more tourists, developments should be allowed in national parks.
Gecko has no objection to day visitors to national parks and would like to see better facilities and interpretation in our parks, but we cannot condone development in any national park.
Prior to 2012 development was not permitted in our national parks, but the section of the Nature Conservation Act, that prohibited development in national parks, was changed by the government of the day and despite promises from the current government this section has never been rescinded.
The conservation movement is very disturbed by this change to the cardinal principle that national parks are first and foremost for the ‘conservation of nature.’
Gecko has no objections to eco-tourism developments immediately adjacent to national parks, but strongly believes that development inside the parks should be banned.
Despite claims that such developments will be sustainable and subject to strict guidelines these are unlikely to be adequately monitored and it is definitely the thin end of the wedge and once there is one then there will be calls for more and the whole concept of protecting nature will be secondary to making parks pay.
Gecko would much prefer visitors to pay to enter parks as they do around the world to provide revenue rather than development.
Actions you can Take
If you agree that developments do not belong in national parks , please write and tell the Minister for Tourism email@example.com the Minister for Environment firstname.lastname@example.org that you believe this is contrary to the intent of the Nature Conservation Act and the cardinal principle that the purpose of national parks is conservation not tourism.