NSW Government failure to deliver promised National Parks Establishment Plan confirms Liberals and Nationals hostility to nature conservation

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The Coalition Government has failed to deliver a promised NSW National Parks Establishment Plan - embarrassing NSW in front of 5,000 international visitors, here in Sydney, this week for the World Parks Congress.

Labor’s shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley said today that the absence of any plan to build the NSW national parks system confirms the Liberal and National parties’ hostility to nature conservation.

“Liberal, National and Shooters party MPs recommended a moratorium on new national parks in the 2012 parliamentary inquiry into public land management in NSW,” Mr Foley said.

“In its official response, the Government committed to releasing an updated NSW National Parks Establishment Plan ‘by mid-2014’*.

“That Plan has still not seen the light of day, with Environment Minister Rob Stokes refusing to say whether it will ever be produced under questioning from the Labor Opposition in Parliament this week.

“An up-to-date National Parks Establishment Plan is needed to guide priorities for future national parks reservations. It should inform us on critical habitats and the impact of climate change on our landscapes.

“This Liberal – National Government is relentlessly hostile to nature conservation. On the very day that the World Parks Congress opened in Sydney, Baird Government Cabinet minister Matthew Mason-Cox attacked the reservation of the river red gum forests as national parks on the floor of the NSW Parliament.

“A large national parks system, managed primarily for conservation, is the central piece of an effective biodiversity protection regime.

“This week John Robertson and I committed to major additions to the NSW national parks estate under a future Labor Government.

“The hard work of building the world-class NSW national parks system has always been done by Labor governments,” Mr Foley said.

Labor in government added 3.07 million hectares of land to the national parks estate between 1995 and 2011. To date, the current Coalition Government has added only 55,000 hectares of land to the national parks estate since coming to office in March 2011.

“At this rate, it will take this government 220 years to match what Labor achieved,” Mr Foley said.