Labor reveals $121m cuts, no plan for new parks & the National Party trying to turn national parks back into state forests for commercial logging

In Parliament | 01.09.17

NSW Labor has revealed that staff cuts, budget cuts and underspends by the Berejiklian Government will take $121 million out of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) over two years.

The cuts are the single biggest hit to the National Parks estate since the NPWS was established in 1967. This year marks 50 years of the service.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton also admitted that the plan for the establishment of new national parks was still incomplete despite a promise being made in 2014.

Questions put by Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage, Penny Sharpe asked Minister Upton to justify:

  • The sacking of 246 full time staff  in the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2016/2017
  • The $57.6mil underspend in the National Parks Budget in 2016/17
  • The $58.1mil cut in the budget for 2017/18
  • The further ‘efficiency dividends’ to be taken out of the budget worth an additional $5.6mil
  • The loss of 20% of Park Rangers since 2011

There are more than 870 parks and reserves covering over 7 million hectares (8%) of NSW. The Parks estate also includes 4 world heritage sites, National Heritage listed sites and 17 Ramsar wetlands.

It is estimated that over 40 million people visit our National Parks each year.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe

“Under the Berejiklian Government we are seeing the single biggest attack on our National Parks and Wildlife service since it was established 50 years ago.

“In its 50th year, we should be celebrating and planning for the growth and protection of our national parks, not see them stripped bare to prop up the government’s bottom line and attacks from the National Party.

“Staff cuts means less fire hazard reduction, less work on dealing with pests and weeds and in some areas of the state an emerging problem of wild dogs and deer.

“Under Labor, the National Parks estate was expanded and supported to be a world class public asset. Under the Libs our National parks are under threat from these cuts and neglect from the Minister for the Environment.”