LABOR TO SUPPORT NATIONAL PARKS WITH 100 NEW FIELD OFFICERS
Labor will end the neglect of the National Parks & Wildlife Service by employing an additional 100 frontline staff to tackle uncontrolled weeds and pests, maintain fire trails & support firefighting efforts.
Following at least $100 million of cuts over the past 12 years to the National Parks and Wildlife Service by the Liberals and Nationals, frontline national parks jobs have been lost, leading to an explosion of weeds and pests throughout these protected areas.
The latest State of the Environment report found pest and weed species cost the NSW economy at least $2 billion per year, with invasives now threatening 70% of threatened native species in NSW. One example of this is the population of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park which has been allowed to explode 370% in the last 12 years to more than 18,000.
An additional 100 staff, mostly in rural and regional areas, would be in addition to any new workers hired to deliver new national parks already announced by Labor, including:
A Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast of NSW, including 140,000 ha of national parks and the assessment of 176,000 ha of state forest;
A Georges River Koala National Park on public land between Glenfield and Appin in South West Sydney;
Completing the Wolli Creek Regional Park;
Protecting the wildlife corridor on the Sydney Water land in Woronora Heights by transferring the land to the National Parks and Wildlife Service;
Assessing all public land in the Heathcote area to identify and protect wildlife corridors linking the Heathcote National Park, the Royal National Park, and the Dhawawal National Park, and;
Completing the National Parks Establishment Plan which has not been updated since 2009, identifying key habitat, ecosystems, and wildlife corridors throughout NSW to expand our protected areas into the future.
The 100 new frontline staff for the National Parks and Wildlife Service builds on Labor’s announcement of a $10 million Good Neighbour Program to end the neglect by tackling weeds and pests on public land neighbouring privately held land.
Quotes attributable to NSW Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe:
“When we create a National Park, it’s a commitment that we will give the landscapes, ecosystems, and species in those areas the highest protection available.
“After more than a decade of neglect, pests and weeds have exploded in our national parks, we need more boots on the ground to address this.
“These will be good, secure, local jobs where workers can build a career in these protected landscapes to tackle threats like weeds and pests.”