National parks are special parts of our heritage which need to be protected for this and future generations. Their special qualities attract visitors from across Australia and overseas. We need governments to commit to protecting national parks or we risk compromising the very purpose of these parks and the values that attract visitors to them in the first place. Our environment is our future and as stewards of this environment we “cannot allow private development in our national parks”.
Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy and to jobs for Australia, particularly for regional areas, and national parks play an important role in nature-based tourism. However, rather than encouraging developments inside national parks, tourism development should be sited on private or other public land outside parks, in locations that are more likely to provide economic benefits directly to regional towns. This is consistent with the worldwide trend for resorts and large scale tourism developments to be located outside national parks.
National parks are areas of high conservation value and their primary purpose of them is to protect Australian wildlife and native flora. Visiting national parks is an activity that many enjoy for a range of reasons and visits with minimum impact are encouraged. The saying ‘leave no trace’ sums up this viewpoint. From the beginning of national parks in Australia professional guides have been taking visitors into the parks, however, over recent years there has been a trend to encourage commercial development, especially accommodation, within the parks.
Governments are now partnering with tourism developers to open up our national parks through private developments to showcase our tourism assets and increase tourism, generate revenue, and provide employment. The commercial tourism developments range from small huts to large accommodation complexes with a focus on high-end, multi-day walks.
Keep It Wild, conservationists and some professional tour guides, however, call for an end to such developments on publicly owned land and for tourism development to remain outside of the national parks, with visitors still able to access the parks.
Action needs to be taken by all Australians to protect our wilderness areas and national parks for future generations to enjoy. We need to come together under one united NATIONAL voice to stop commercial developments in OUR Parks once and for all.